Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)
Social anxiety disorder (SAD), also known as social phobia, is the most common anxiety disorder and one of the most common psychiatric disorders. It is characterized by an intense fear of being judged by others and humiliated in social situations thereby causing considerable distress and impaired ability to function in daily life. These fears can be triggered by perceived or actual scrutiny from others.
Physical symptoms often accompanying social anxiety disorder include excessive blushing, excess sweating, trembling, palpitations and nausea. Stammering may be present, along with rapid speech. This fear can be so strong that it interferes with daily life activities like going to work or school. If left untreated, some sufferers use alcohol, food, or drugs to reduce the fear at social events, which often leads to other disorders such as alcoholism, eating disorders, and depression. Panic attacks can also occur under intense fear and discomfort.
Standardized rating scales such as the Social Phobia Inventory, the SPAI-B and Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale can be used to screen for social anxiety disorder and measure the severity of anxiety.
The first line in Anxiety Disorder Therapy is cognitive behavioral therapy with medications recommended only in those who are not interested in therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy is effective in treating social phobia, whether delivered individually or in a group setting. The cognitive and behavioral components seek to change thought patterns and physical reactions to anxiety-inducing situations.
Prescribed medications include severalclassesof antidepressants: selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Other commonly used medications include beta blockers and benzodiazepines.