Social Anxiety Disorder Quick Facts

About:

  • Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is a common disorder that affects 15 million American adults
    • 36% of people with SAD report symptoms for 10 or more years before seeking help
  • SAD is the fear of social situations that involves interactions with other people.
    • It is not the same as being shy, withdrawn, or unfriendly

Triggers:

  • Being introduced to other people
  • Being teased or criticized
  • Being the center of attention
  • Being watched or observed while doing something

This is not a complete list, but just some of the things that can trigger the high levels of fear or anxiety associated with SAD.

Symptoms: 

  • Constant, intense anxiety
  • Social isolation or avoidance of social situations
  • Racing heart
  • Excessive sweating
  • Twitching
  • Panic attacks
  • In severe cases, dysmorphia

Diagnosis: 

  • A person must have a persistent fear of situations where he/she is exposed to possible scrutiny by others
  • Exposure to such a situation leads to anxiety and in some cases panic attacks
  • The person realizes the fear is unreasonable/excessive
  • The feared situations are avoided or endured with distress
  • To be diagnosed with SAD, the fear, anxiety, or avoidance of social situations lasts for six months or more

(Source: DSM-5)

Treatment: 

  • Therapy (cognitive behavioral therapy and psychotherapy; talk therapy can help increase confidence in social situations)
  • Medications (antidepressants or sedatives)

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