9 Disorders Related to Social Anxiety
There are various types of social anxiety disorders. Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is a specific diagnosis. However, there are also a number of other disorders that involve varying levels of social anxiety. Here I outline the different types of disorders that may show symptoms of social anxiety. First, let’s consider what is meant by a mental disorder.
Definition of a Mental Disorder
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) states that a mental disorder “is a syndrome characterized by clinically significant disturbance in an individual’s cognition, emotion regulation, or behavior that reflects a dysfunction in the psychological, biological, or developmental processes underlying mental functioning.” It goes on to state that these disorders are related to problems in social, occupational, and other life activities.
Selective mutism is defined in the DSM-V as a “consistent failure to speak in specific social situations in which there is an expectation for speaking (e.g., at school) despite speaking in other situations.” It is classified as an anxiety disorder that causes interference with school or work achievement. Children with this disorder do not initiate conversation and do not respond when others talk to them. Often these children will speak in their homes, but not in front of anyone but immediate family. This disorder involves a high level of social anxiety and may be diagnosed alongside social anxiety disorder.
Taijin Kyofusho (Japan and Korea)
In Japan and Korea, Taijin Kyofusho refers to a fear of making other people uncomfortable, such as by looking at them.
Paruresis is the fear of using public restrooms and is one symptom of social anxiety disorder.
Glossophobia is the fear of public speaking.
Avoidant Personality Disorder
People with avoidant personality disorder have the same symptoms as with social anxiety disorder, but their pattern of avoidance is broader.
Schizotypal Personality Disorder
In addition to other symptoms, individuals with this disorder may experience social anxiety and tend to have few friends or relationships. They have trouble meeting new people, mostly out of paranoia and being suspicious, which does not tend to go away over time.
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism spectrum disorder involves impairment in social communication and social interaction across various contexts. People with this disorder specifically have trouble with nonverbal communication, maintaining relationships, and social reciprocity. Children with high-functioning autism often also have social anxiety disorder.
Childhood-Onset Fluency Disorder (Stuttering)
Childhood-onset fluency disorder, previously known as stuttering, is listed as a communication disorder in the DSM-5. According to the DSM-5, “The essential feature of childhood-onset fluency disorder (stuttering) is a disturbance in the normal fluency and time patterning of speech that is inappropriate for the individual’s age.” It occurs by age 6 for 80 to 90% of affected people, with a range of 2 to 7 years. However, 65 to 85% of children recover from stuttering and it does not cause them problems as an adult. Interestingly, stuttering often disappears when people read aloud, sing, or talk to objects or pets. Stuttering causes anxiety about speaking, though it is not strictly classified as an anxiety disorder.
Social Anxiety Disorder
Social anxiety disorder involves fear or avoidance of social situations in which you may be scrutinized. These situations include meeting new people, eating or drinking in front of others, or performing in front of people. The fear in this disorder is of being negatively evaluated, embarrassed, humiliated, or rejected.
In children, social anxiety disorder might result in refusing to go to school out of fear of being judged negatively by others. Some people with this disorder only have performance-related anxiety, and are classified as a subgroup.
Social anxiety disorder usually involves anticipation anxiety, in which a person focuses on upcoming social situations. It can be diagnosed as generalized or “performance only.”
Social Anxiety Resources
If you’d like to learn more about overcoming social anxiety, you can download a free copy of the report “Social Anxiety to Social Butterfly in 90 Days” from my resource library!
The library includes other goodies such as a gratitude journal, CBT workbook, and coloring pages that you won’t want to miss.