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Social Anxiety Disorder

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What is Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)?

Social anxiety disorder, also called social phobia, is an intense, persistent fear of being watched and judged by others. This can also include fear of being negatively evaluated or fear of being rejected in a social or performance setting. It is important to note, this disorder is more than just shyness.

How common is SAD and who might get SAD?

According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of American, social anxiety disorder affects around 15 million American adults and is the second most commonly diagnosed anxiety disorder following specific phobia. 
There is no known or specific cause for the cause of SAD. Sometimes it can be linked to genetics, but there are cases in families where one family member might have SAD while another family member does not. 

What are the symptoms of SAD?

  • Being self-conscious around others, feeling embarrassed and awkward 
  • Constantly feeling like you are being judged 
  • Concern about offending someone 
  • Refraining from doing activities where the will be other people or staying away from places where there are other people 
  • Feeling nausea or having “pit” in stomach 
  • Blushing, sweats, rapid heart rate, feeling like your mind is “going blank” 

How is SAD diagnosed?

Your mental health professional can help determine whether other conditions are causing your anxiety or if you have social anxiety disorder. This is done by a full assessment, discussion of your symptoms, and self-reported questionnaires.

How is SAD treated?

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy useful in helping treat SAD. Support groups can also help. Prescribed medication by a medical professional, can also be useful in treatment of social anxiety disorder.