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Diagnosis of Social Anxiety Disorder

The content below is part of the “Health Library” and is not indicative of services available at the facility.

Social anxiety disorder is not well understood by the general public, or by medical and mental health professionals. As a result, the majority of people with social anxiety disorder may be misdiagnosed or untreated.

The diagnosis of social anxiety disorder is based on the following criteria being present for 6 months or more:

  • General symptoms may include:
    • Feared social situations
    • Exposure to unfamiliar people or scrutiny
    • Fear of doing something humiliating or embarrassing
  • Disruption of ability to manage daily life activities, such as:
    • Normal routines
    • Success in school
    • Career
    • Social relationships
  • Anxiety in social situations is very distressing, but recognized as excessive or unreasonable

The process of making the diagnosis may include the following:

Initial assessment—Your doctor will ask questions about your symptoms and medical history. You may be asked how long the symptoms have been present, how distressing they are, and how they affect your ability to function. You may be given a psychological assessment as well.

Evaluation for or of other psychiatric disordersDepression , substance abuse (alcohol use disorder or drug addiction), and other anxiety disorders (generalized anxiety disorder, phobias, panic attacks) often occur with social anxiety disorder. You may be tested for these and other disorders.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrian Preda, MD
  • Review Date: 06/2017 -
  • Update Date: 12/20/2014 -
  • Anxiety disorders. National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml. Updated March 2016. Accessed June 27, 2017.

  • Schneier FR. Clinical practice. Social anxiety disorder. N Engl J Med. 2006;355(10):1029-1036.

  • Social anxiety disorder. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115906/Social-anxiety-disorder. Updated November 8, 2016. Accessed June 27, 2017.

  • Social phobia. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/psychiatric-disorders/anxiety-and-stressor-related-disorders/social-phobia. Updated May 2014. Accessed June 27, 2017.

The health information in this Health Library is provided by a third party. Cartersville Medical Center does not in any way create the content of this information. It is provided solely for informational purposes. It does not constitute medical advice and is not intended to be a substitute for proper medical care provided by a physician. Always consult with your doctor for appropriate examinations, treatment, testing, and care recommendations. Do not rely on information on this site as a tool for self-diagnosis. If you have a medical emergency, call 911.