Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)

Social Anxiety Disorders affects 6.8% of the population, 15 million Americans. It occurs equally in men and women and onset is in childhood or early adolescence.

Normal social anxiety can be seen when people are confronted with a new or intimidating social situation such as giving a big presentation or feeling a bit shy entering a room of strangers.

Social anxiety disorder is intense irrational fear of being scrutinized, criticized or negatively evaluated by others. This can occur in the most seemingly non-threatening social interactions, such as going to the grocery store, making a phone call, or speaking in a meeting. The fear is unrealistic but feels overpowering to the sufferer of SAD. They may feel humiliated or embarrassed. Anticipatory anxiety frequently develops and may lead to avoidance of most social situations as well as anxiety and panic symptoms. SAD can interfere with functioning in social interactions at home, work and school.

Symptoms may include:
  • Fear of being scrutinized, criticized or negatively evaluated
  • Felling humiliated or embarrassed
  • Fear of appearing inept or stupid
  • Appearance of and fear of blushing or sweating
  • Fear of going crazy or embarrassing self
  • Anxiety symptoms
  • Anticipatory anxiety- anxiety even thinking of the fearful situation
  • Fight/ flight response to feared situation
  • Panic attacks when confronted with feared situation
  • Avoidance of situations where fears have arisen

Causal Factors:
Biologic, Genetic, Sociologic and/or Environmental factors. May be accompanied by by Depression, other Anxiety Disorders, and/or Substance Abuse diagnoses.

Treatment Options:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Exposure Therapy, Medication, and/or Relaxation and Anxiety Management Techniques.