Social anxiety often comes along with additional psychological disorders. This does not only complicate the diagnosis, but it can also worsen the symptoms and exacerbate the individual’s difficulties with living a normal and “functional” life (Klein, Hofmeijer-Sevink et al., 2012; Wittchen, Fuetsch, Sonntag, Müller, & Liebowitz, 2000). Overall, around two thirds of social anxiety people suffer from an additional psychological disorder (Acarturk, de Graaf, van Straten, ten Have, & Cuijpers, 2008). Needless to say, the quality of life of these individuals is often more negatively impacted compared to those who “only” suffer from SAD (Wittchen et al., 2000).
It has been found that SAD sufferers with an additional disorder experience more chronic social anxiety than those without one (Schneier, Spitzer Gibbon, Fyer, & Liebowitz, 1991). Additionally, co-occurring disorders are associated with a greater number of feared social situations for those with SAD (Szafranski, Talkovsky, Farris, & Norton, 2014).
Thorough screening for additional disorders is crucial, as this can have an important impact on treatment. The psychological disorders that most commonly occur along with SAD can be grouped into four different categories: