Social Anxiety Disorder Diagnosis

(Also Known As: Social Anxiety Diagnosis, Anxiety Disorder Diagnosis, Anxiety Diagnosis, Social Phobia Diagnosis, Anxiety Disorders Diagnosis)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

How Is Social Anxiety Disorder Diagnosed?

In diagnosing social anxiety disorder, the history of the patient as well as the reported symptoms serves as the basis for the diagnosis. Diagnostic questionnaires may be administered to eliminate other possible conditions such as phobias, other anxiety disorders, and major depression. The attending physician will also conduct interviews with the parents, teachers, and other people who know the child.

According to the DSM-IV-TR, in order to have a diagnosis of social anxiety disorder, the following criteria should be present in the individual: 6

  • Marked or persistent fear of more than one social or performance situation wherein the person is exposed to people they are unfamiliar with who might scrutinize them. They are afraid that they will be humiliated or embarrassed by other people.
  • The exposure to the feared social situation triggers the anxiety, which may come as a situational bound or predisposed panic attack.
  • The individual is aware that their fear is excessive or unreasonable. In the case of children, this feature is absent.
  • The feared social or performance event is avoided or else endured with severe anxiety or distress.
  • The avoidance, anxious anticipation, or distress in the feared social or performance event can be a hindrance to the normal routine, school work, or occupational functioning of the individual or there is great distress about suffering the phobia.
  • If the individual is below 18 years old, the duration of the condition should be a minimum of 6 months.
  • The fear of avoidance is not caused by direct physiological effects of substance abuse or general medical condition associated with another mental disorder.
  • If there are symptoms of general medical condition or another mental disorder is present, the fear in the first criterion should not be related to it.

There are various instruments that are being used in diagnosing social anxiety disorder. In children, some of the more popular diagnostic instruments include Child Depression Inventory (CDI), the Social Phobia and Anxiety Inventory for Children, Child Behavior Checklist, and others. In adults, the popular diagnostic instruments include the Structured DSM-IV

Could You Have Social Anxiety Disorder?

Social Anxiety Disorder Topics

Related Conditions

Anxiety Disorder NOS – Irrational Fear, Depression, Anxiety, Phobias
Avoidant Personality Disorder – Pervasive Social Inhibition, Extreme Sensitivity, Feeling of Inadequacy, Avoidance of Social Interaction
Generalized Anxiety Disorder – Irrational Worry, Uncontrollable Fear, Fatigue, Anxiety, Depression
Panic Disorder – Panic Attacks, Anticipatory Attacks, Irrational Fear, Anxiety, Depression