Individuals with Social Anxiety Disorder suffer from significant fear and anxiety of social situations where they may be scrutinized or negatively evaluated by others.
Diagnosis of Social Anxiety Disorder
A person may be diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder if,
- He exhibits significant fear or anxiety about social situations in which he may be scrutinized by others. For example, he may be anxious about negative evaluations when conversing, meeting new people, eating or drinking, or performing in front of others.
- She is afraid that she will act in a way or show anxiety symptoms that will be negatively evaluated. She fears humiliation, embarrassment, and potential rejection.
- Social situations almost always provoke fear and anxiety.
- They avoid or endure social situations with intense fear or anxiety.
- This fear or anxiety is out of proportion to the actual threat posed by the social situation.
- The fear and anxiety cause significant distress that interferes with the person’s quality of life. This may include their job and other activities of daily life.
- The fear is not the result of substance use, medication, panic disorder, body dysmorphic disorder, autism spectrum disorder, or any medical condition.
- Finally, the person has consistently experienced this fear and anxiety for 6 months or more.
Onset and Risks
The median age of onset is 13. Furthermore, 75% of young people have an age of onset between 8 and 15 years of age. Social phobia can follow people throughout their entire life, presenting problems at any age. You may suffer more as you age without appropriate intervention.
Often the person is scared of being negatively evaluated, being seen as anxious, and therefore being considered weak, crazy, stupid, boring, intimidating, dirty, or unlikable. The person also fears that there will be negative evaluation if they blush, tremble, shake, sweat, or stumble over their words. Once in the cycle, it tends to escalate leaving the person inhibited and avoidant.
Furthermore, people who suffer from Social Anxiety Disorder are at a higher risk of school dropout. This disorder may also cause risks of decreased well-being, employment, workplace productivity, socioeconomic status, and quality of life.
It has been my experience that social phobia significantly impedes an individual’s potential and growth. These are individuals who are often very intelligent, talented, and creative. Please contact me if you suspect you or someone you care about has Social Anxiety Disorder in the areas surrounding Philadelphia, Montgomery County, and the Main Line.
My Very Best to You,