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What are the Different Types of Social Anxiety Disorder?


Updated June 13, 2014

Question: What are the Different Types of Social Anxiety Disorder?

There are two different types of social anxiety disorder. A diagnosis of social anxiety disorder (SAD) may be designated as "generalized." If the person with SAD has fears related to most social and performance situations (such as speaking to authority figures, going on dates, starting conversations, giving speeches) then the term "generalized" is used as part of the diagnosis. Generalized SAD is a more severe form of the disorder and is usually accompanied by greater impairment in day-to-day functioning.

People who do not meet the criteria for "generalized" SAD are sometimes commonly referred to as having "nongeneralized" or "specific" SAD. However, no official designation is used for this diagnosis. This group includes people who fear one or more, but not all, social and performance situations. For example, if you only feared public speaking, or were only afraid of speaking with people in authority, the diagnosis would be SAD, without the "generalized" specifier.

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