What is it?

Social anxiety disorder (SAD), also known as social phobia, is a long-term and tremendous fear of social situations. This anxiety can lead to impaired ability to function in everyday situations. The anxiety for many people with SAD is triggered by the perceived or actual scrutiny from others. They may fear from being judged by others in social situations, being embarrassed or humiliated, accidentally offending someone or being the center of attention

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Social Phobia

Signs & symptoms

In opposed of being shy, people that suffers from SAD worry from social situations before, during and after them. They may feel anxious from many situations they have to start conversations, meet new people or even speak on the phone. They might avoid many social activities. They may avoid doing things when others are watching and they will feel constantly judged or criticized by others. In these situations they might feel sick, sweat and have palpitations. They can also report having panic attacks, which are sudden periods of intense fear that last usually a few minutes.


According to DSM-5 in order to diagnose social anxiety, a patient should meet the following criteria:
- Marked fear or anxiety about one or more social situations in which the individual is exposed to possible scrutiny by others. Examples include social interactions (e.g., having a conversation, meeting unfamiliar people), being observed (e.g., eating or drinking), and performing in front of others (e.g., giving a speech).
Note: In children, the anxiety must occur in peer settings and not just during interactions with adults.
The individual fears that he or she will act in a way or show anxiety symptoms that will be negatively evaluated (i.e., will be humiliating or embarrassing; will lead to rejection or offend others)
- The fear or anxiety is out of proportion to the actual threat posed by the social situation and to the sociocultural context.
- The social situations almost always provoke fear or anxiety.
Note: In children, the fear or anxiety may be expressed by crying, tantrums, freezing, clinging, shrinking, or failing to speak in social situations
- The social situations are avoided or endured with intense fear or anxiety..
- The fear, anxiety, or avoidance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
- The fear, anxiety, or avoidance is persistent, typically lasting for 6 months or more.
- The fear, anxiety, or avoidance is not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or another medical condition.
- The fear, anxiety, or avoidance is not better explained by the symptoms of another mental disorder, such as panic disorder, body dysmorphic disorder, or autism spectrum disorder.
- If another medical condition (e.g., Parkinson’s disease, obesity, disfigurement from burns or injury) is present, the fear, anxiety, or avoidance is clearly unrelated or is excessive


Treatment for anxiety disorder usually combines psychotherapy such a cognitive- behavioral therapy (CBT) and medication, typically antidepressants (SSRI's).

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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