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Arlin Cuncic

Do I Have Social Anxiety Disorder?

By November 13, 2007

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Do you experience severe anxiety in social situations? Are you wondering whether what you are feeling is more than just extreme shyness? Social anxiety disorder (SAD) often goes undiagnosed and untreated because people assume that the symptoms of the disorder are just part of their personality. It may, however, be worth asking the question -- Do I have social anxiety disorder?

Dr. Jonathan Davidson of the Department of Psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center has developed a 3-item screening test for social anxiety disorder (SAD) called the Mini Social Phobia Inventory (or Mini-SPIN for short).

To complete the Mini-SPIN, your doctor will have you rate the following three items in terms of how true they are for you on a scale of 0 to 4, where 0 is “not at all” and 4 is “extremely present.”

  • Fear of embarrassment causes me to avoid doing things or speaking to people.
  • I avoid activities in which I am the center of attention.
  • Being embarrassed or looking stupid are among my worst fears.

Generally, total scores of 6 or higher are indicative of possible SAD, however only a trained mental health professional can make a diagnosis. Your doctor will be able to provide a full assessment, or refer you to another professional more experienced in diagnosing the disorder.

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