Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)

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According to the DSM 5, social anxiety disorder (SAD) is a chronic and persistent disorder characterized by an intense fear of social situations. Those with SAD often fear that other will judge them for negative traits or evaluate them harshly, preventing them from engaging in social behaviors. This fear may seem disproportionate to the situation faced and sociocultural context involved, but is salient enough to be debilitating and effect daily functioning. ). Many of the afflicted inhibit their behavior to avoid such fearful situations, which will impact their functioning in school, relationships, and later in life, the workplace. The onset of anxiety symptoms often occurs between early childhood to late adolescence, approximately 8 to 15 years old, after a traumatic event or major life change (APA, 2013). Most afflicted with it will not seek or receive proper treatment until adulthood. Fewer than 23% of adolescents that are diagnosed with SAD receive treatment (Tulbure, Szentagotai, Dobrean & David, 2012) and on average most tend to pursue treatment 10 to 15 years after the first onset of symptoms (APA, 2013). Left untreated, those with SAD may develop a dependence on substance to cope with symptoms. The criteria for SAD in the DSM 5 is one of the most common diagnostic tools, but it is possible to misdiagnosis SAD as shyness or to mistake it for another comorbid disorder like depression or generalized anxiety disorder. Children and adolescent also express symptoms differently. For instance, adolescents tend to have more severe symptoms than adults (APA, 2013). To prevent the under or mis-diagnosis of this disorder, it is important to have other assessment tools designed for children and adolescents that are both reliable and va... ... middle of paper ... ...ave a diagnosis. It may be in the best interest of the diagnostician or clinician to use both measures to ensure fewer Type I errors. Examining these three different types of diagnostic tools for social anxiety, we can conclude that while they are the most reliable and valid, it is still quite possible to let some adolescents who meet criteria slip through the cracks. It may be necessary to use multiple diagnostic tools depending on the severity of symptoms and the potential presence of co-morbid disorders. Many of these diagnostic tools are statistically valid and reliable and hold up to rigorous testing, but it can be difficult to refine tests to ensure that every child who fits a diagnosis will receive it. Therefore, it is important to remind clinicians to use these assessment tools in addition to the DSM 5 and tailor assessment based on the Clinical Interview.

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