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Social Anxiety Disorder: Symptoms and Diagnostic Criteria

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Social anxiety disorder (SAD) has been included as a diagnosable psychiatric illness in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders -- Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) since 1994. Learn more about the symptoms, diagnostic criteria, and underlying causes of the disorder, as well as other diagnoses that commonly co-occur with SAD.
  1. Understanding SAD
  2. Symptoms of SAD
  3. Diagnosis of SAD
  4. Related Diagnoses
  5. Risk Factors

Understanding SAD

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Learn more about the history of social anxiety disorder and what it means to have SAD.

Symptoms of SAD

SAD is characterized by a host of physical and cognitive symptoms that are elicited when the sufferer is in social or performance situations. Physical symptoms may manifest as a racing heart, trembling hands, and sweating, while cognitive symptoms include automatic negative thoughts and negative core beliefs.

Diagnosis of SAD

SAD requires that a number of specific criteria are met. These criteria are outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders -- Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) published by the American Psychiatric Association.

Related Diagnoses

A number of psychiatric conditions tend to co-occur with SAD. Learn more about these disorders, how they relate to SAD, and what implications there are for treatment when SAD is not the sole diagnosis.

Risk Factors

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SAD is a medical condition with specific genetic and psychosocial causes -- a family history of SAD and specific environmental triggers make you more likely to develop the disorder.

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