A social anxiety disorder diagnosis is based on an evaluation of the person’s symptoms, screening for the disorder and by measuring the severity of symptoms and phobias.
Social anxiety disorder is characterized by painful shyness in social situations and a persistent and constant fear of being judged and rejected by others. A person may blush, stammer, tremble and feel tongue-tied; may even have panic attacks.
Why social anxiety disorder diagnosis is important
Contrary to what some may believe, a social anxiety disorder is more than just shyness, and it is more than just a case of getting over it.
Timely detection and treatment of the disorder can help to prevent its escalation. This disorder, if left untreated, can often lead to depression.
If a social anxiety disorder diagnosis is not made in time, there are possibilities of it leading to depression, alcoholism, substance abuse or dependence and perhaps eating disorders.
Sufferers often use risky or unhealthy behaviors to try and overcome their anxiety in social situations.
They may self medicate or use alcohol or drugs or other substances to minimize fears and inhibitions when faced with social situations which itself could be dangerous and could lead to further complications.
How social anxiety disorder diagnosis is made
Since there is no blood test or other laboratory test for identifying this disorder, the diagnosis is made based on the doctor asking lots of questions. Questions will be asked about symptoms, about triggers, and about one’s overall psychological state. Certain criteria determine the presence or absence of the disorder:
- If a person believes that they will be judged or scrutinized in a humiliating or embarrassing way by others in social situations
- If the person is feeling a great deal of anxiety as a result of this.
- If the person recognizes the fact that their reaction is out of proportion to the stimulus
- If the person tries their best to avoid the sort of situations that will cause anxiety.
- If this is persistent behavior that is starting to interfere with a person’s daily living and functioning.
The Social Phobia Inventory
The Social Phobia Inventory is a tool for social anxiety disorder diagnosis. It measures the severity of the phobia by examining parameters such as fear and avoidance as well as psychological symptoms. This is also called the SPIN questionnaire and is considered a valid assessment scale for diagnosing social anxiety disorders and its severity and for developing treatment protocols.