Diagnosis of Social Phobia
Social Phobia diagnosis is made through observation of behavior and some signs
emitted by a person (example: a child remains mute in front of unknown
children) and/or through information provided by the person (example:
anxiety in one or more social situations). Some
characteristics occur systematically: when in contact with one or more
performance is expected
(speaking, writing, singing, eating, interacting), strong anxiety arises resulting in an intense
desire to flee the environment.
These patterns can occur in many situations, but some are apparently
more common: when a person is about to speak in public, to start contact
with the opposite sex, or to speak with strangers. Though less intense, it is
also common for someone to have anxiety in family life.
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Social Phobia /
Social Anxiety Disorder diagnosis can vary from one
professional to another, due to
the particular aspects of each case. Thus, one professional may judge a
person as having Social Anxiety Disorder, while another professional may deem
Shyness. A person may be considered by one professional as having
moderate phobia and severe phobia by another professional.
Variation from one professional to another may include
not just the degree or intensity of Social Anxiety
Disorder but also the diagnosis itself. Many do not
distinguish between Shyness and Social Anxiety Disorder
and everyone who feels ill at ease or embarrassed
in the presence of others may be regarded as having
Shyness or Social Anxiety Disorder. For these professionals,
signs and symptoms will determine degree
only. For instance, the diagnosis may be Mild,
Moderate, or Severe Shyness; or Mild, Moderate, or Several
Anxiety Disorder. On the other hand, many professionals
do distinguish between Shyness and Social Anxiety
Disorder, this website's author among them. Shyness
is not a medical diagnosis. As described in this website,
it does not fit into the Social Anxiety Disorder diagnosis
International Desease Classification, number
10, of the World Health Organization, nor into the
Diagnostic and Statistical
Manual of Mental Disorders,
4th edition, of the American Psychiatry Association.
In order to come up with a diagnosis, the criteria recommended by these
health organizations must be complied with. The first such criterion is
deciding whether the situation meets the requirements of Phobia
Phobia is irrational and persistent fear of a situation, object, or activity that generates an intense desire to avoid it. This leads the person to face the situation, object, or activity with much fear or to avoid it altogether.
If the individual displays
fear of social performance
situations, feels a strong desire to avoid them, withstands them with
much suffering (high anxiety), and is plagued by personal significant loss
or the perspective of future loss, he has Social Anxiety Disorder. In other
words, it can be said that the anxiety experienced by this person in these
situations is high and is repeated time he goes through such situations, whether or not the experience leads to panic.
Other criteria follow below, which must be taken into account in
diagnosing Social Anxiety Disorder. Outside that situation, the person is aware (or
may come to be aware) of the irrationality of his fear (this is not
required in a child). In children and adolescents, the diagnosis must be
made only if the signs and symptoms persist for at least six months. A
record must be kept of the social situations in which anxiety occurs, as
well as their
number—whether in two or more situations (it rarely occurs
in only one situation).
The professional must observe
whether Social Anxiety Disorder results from some
medical or temporary social condition. Family history usually records a
similar occurrence in other person(s), especially in one of the parents.
"Generalized" will be added to the Social Anxiety Disorder diagnosis if the phobia
appears in most social situations.
Social Anxiety Disorder - Differential Diagnosis
Anxiety Attacks in
Social Anxiety Disorder / Social Anxiety Disorder