Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Your mental health provider will want to determine whether other conditions may be causing your social anxiety or if you have social anxiety disorder along with another mental health disorder.

When you decide to seek treatment for social anxiety disorder symptoms, your doctor may:

  • Perform a physical exam to determine if there may be any physical causes triggering your symptoms
  • Ask you to describe your signs and symptoms, how often they occur and in what situations
  • Review a list of situations to see if they make you anxious
  • Have you fill out psychological questionnaires to help pinpoint a diagnosis

Many experts use the criteria listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association, to diagnose mental conditions. This manual is also used by insurance companies to reimburse for treatment. Criteria include:

  • Persistent (typically 6 months or longer) fear of or intense anxiety about social situations in which you believe you may be scrutinized or act in a way that's embarrassing or humiliating
  • Avoidance of anxiety-producing social situations or enduring them with intense fear or anxiety
  • Excessive anxiety that's out of proportion to the situation
  • Anxiety or distress that interferes with your daily living
  • Fear or anxiety that is not better explained by a medical condition, medication or substance abuse
Sep. 12, 2014

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