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    Do You Have Social Anxiety Disorder?

    Do You Have Social Anxiety Disorder?
    Take this self-assessment test to find out if you have social anxiety disorder.
    Barbara Markway
    Jan 03, 2014

    Gina thought it was normal that she didn't have many friends. She assumed no one would want to have anything to do with her, so she mostly kept to herself. Although Gina was bright, she hated school. She dreaded being called on by the teacher to answer question. She knew she'd freeze up and wouldn't be able to speak. Lunchtime was the worst. She never had anyone to sit by, and she felt too nervous to eat much. She was so miserable, she frequently had stomachaches and begged to stay home.

    Gina had accepted her mother?s explanation that she was ?just shy." But now as an adult, she was having problems at work, too. Lately, she worried she was going crazy. ?I just don't know what's wrong with me,? she said.

    In working with Gina, I realized she wasn't ?just shy.? She was painfully shy. Of course, most people have had butterflies in their stomach before giving a speech or have felt a little nervous on a first date. These natural reactions don't come close to the extreme fear and anxiety experienced by people like Gina. The technical term for the condition is social anxiety disorder, or social phobia as it was previously called.

    Here is a self-assessment test to see if you have social anxiety disorder. Perhaps you can print this out and check off any items that apply. (This self-assessment is not a substitute for an evaluation with a mental health professional.)


    These are situations in which I'm likely to experience social anxiety:


    Talking on the telephone

    Being introduced to others

    Answering the door

    Interacting with clerks at the bank, or grocery store

    Dealing with doctor?s offices

    Attending church

    Buying or returning items at a store

    Driving (for fear of what other drivers are thinking of you)

    Using public restrooms (not due to fear of germs)

    Eating in front of other people

    Writing or signing name in front of others

    Attending social events


    Hosting social events

    Dating

    Talking in a small group

    Acting assertively

    Expressing your opinion

    Talking about yourself to others

    Speaking to a large group

    Performance situations


    Do you engage in any of these "partial avoidance behaviors"?:

    I use alcohol or drugs before entering a feared social situation.

    If I attend a social situation, I stay only a certain length of time.

    I set other conditions on attendance, such as staying close to a ?safe? person.

    I frequently try to distract myself by daydreaming or thinking about other things.

    I?m likely to avoid eye contact.


    These are the physical symptoms I'm likely to experience when I'm anxious:

    Blushing

    Shaking

    Sweating

    Hot or cold flashes

    Stomach discomfort

    Muscle tension

    Racing heart

    Shortness of breath

    Tightness in chest

    Feelings of weakness

    Lightheadedness/dizziness

    Lump in throat or dry mouth

    Feelings of unreality


    These are the things I'm likely to be telling myself, either before, during, or after a social situation:

    I'm such a loser.

    I don't fit in.

    Everyone can tell how nervous I am.

    I don't have anything interesting to say.

    I'm so ugly.

    I'm boring.

    I have to get out of here before embarrass myself anymore.

    My voice is quivering.

    I sound stupid

    People must think I'm crazy.

    Everything everyone thinks I'm too quiet.

    If I blow it, it's the end of the world.


    Other key questions to ask about my reactions to feared social situations:

    Does avoidance of these situations interfere with my normal routine?

    Does the fear and avoidance interfere with my academic functioning?

    Does the fear and avoidance interfere with my occupational functioning?

    Does the fear and avoidance interfere with my social activities and relationships?

    Does having social anxiety cause me significant pain and distress?

    Now review your answers. The more items you?ve checked, the more likely this is not a case of simple shyness.

    According to the new DSM-V (the current manual of mental disorders), to be diagnosed with social anxiety disorder, your fear or anxiety must be out of proportion?in frequency and/or duration?to the actual situation AND your symptoms must be persistent, lasting six months or longer. To be diagnosed with social anxiety disorder, you must also suffer significant distress or impairment that interferes with your ordinary routine in social settings, at work or school, or during other everyday activities.

    If you think you may have social anxiety disorder, a good first step is to talk with your doctor. Bring this questionnaire to help guide your discussion.

    No one should have to limit one's life because of fear. Now, more than ever, there are ways to minimize the harmful effects of unchecked social anxiety. You've taken an important first step by completing this self-assessment questionnaire.

    *** My most popular post on my other blog, The Self-Compassion Project is 80+ Self-Care Ideas. Check it out!

    Shyness is nice and shyness can stop you 
from doing all the things in life
 you?d like to.
    Last edited by making_art; May 7th, 2016 at 05:53 PM.

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