Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)

Formerly Known as "Social Phobia"

DSM-5 Definition

A persistent fear of one or more social or performance situations in which the person is exposed to unfamiliar people or to possible scrutiny by others. The individual fears that he or she will act in a way that will be embarrassing and humiliating
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Common Symptoms/Characteristics

  1. Fear of confrontation and fear that something said was wrong

  2. Apprehension of involvement in a social situation

  3. Anxious about entering conversations

  4. Hiding feelings when in public

  5. People with social anxiety tend to make conclusions on social situations that are irrational and untrue based on prior experiences

Social anxiety is one of the least understood disorder. It is not genetic, or hereditary, rather it is an environmental response. Perhaps to a painful memory from young childhood, bullying, not having many friends in school.


The best way to overcome this disorder is to consistently reinforce yourself with positive aspects of a social situation. This involves training and some forms of getting out of ones comfort zone. However, there is medication for SAD is selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which are used as antidepressants. The serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) venlafaxine also may be an option for social anxiety disorder.

How Many People Have It?

Millions of people are affected by SAD. About 7% of America’s population suffers from this form of depression. Making it the third most prominent of mental disorders. The prevalence rate for developing SAD is 13-14%.

Who's Likely to Have SAD?

People who have an overactive amygdala may have a heightened fear response, causing increased anxiety in social situations. This disorder occurs in many people. However people whose parents have SAD are more at risk.

I Have Moderate Social Anxiety Disorder

I have social anxiety. Social anxiety hinders my ability to meet new people and have a large web of friends. At a young age my mother was concerned, she felt I would be a pariah, or a shut-in. This disorder actually has me create connections from bad thoughts or fears in my mind to real life events , such as a friend being angry with me if they are not texting back. This is what causes my anxiety attacks, where I become upset and short tempered, for at most a day. I know that what I’m thinking is wrong but I can’t stop thinking about it.


Social Anxiety, Chemical Imbalances,. (n.d.). Retrieved December 4, 2014, from

Social anxiety disorder (social phobia). (n.d.). Retrieved December 10, 2014, from