Do You Have Social Anxiety? Take the Social Anxiety Test!
Since social anxiety symptoms are experienced by most people to a certain degree, it can seem difficult to determine whether or not you suffer from SAD. A social anxiety test can help. Experts have created numerous questionnaires, all slightly different in nature.
The crucial difference between normal social insecurity and a social anxiety disorder diagnosis not only lies in the intensity of the symptoms, but also in the suffering they provoke.
For instance, some people might experience very high levels of physiological arousal when giving a speech, but don’t see this as a big problem or themselves as flawed because of it. Despite the discomfort, most people don’t shy away from public speaking or other social endeavors and refrain from judging themselves because of their insecurity.
Things are different for SAD sufferers. They typically experience anxiety symptoms in social situations as unbearable, and therefore often avoid confronting them.
Others might face the feared situations, but only under severe distress. Socially anxious people usually see their insecurity as weakness and blame themselves for it, which increases the suffering even further.
All in all, the life satisfaction of people with SAD is significantly impacted by their condition and treatment is often indicated. Therefore, it is crucial to determine whether or not a person suffers from SAD, which can be done through clinical interviews and officially approved tests for social anxiety.
Social Anxiety Diagnosis: Getting it Right
When it comes to mental health care, it is not only important to determine whether or not a diagnosis is needed, but also to figure out which is the right one.
Not only do some of the diagnostic criteria for SAD overlap with those of similar but different conditions, but social anxiety is also frequently accompanied by additional psychological disorders. Adequate screening enables clinicians to differentiate between conditions and put a label on a person’s ailment.
Although the labeling of people’s experiences through mental health diagnoses is frequently questioned and is likely to remain a controversial topic in the foreseeable future, it can certainly help in the process of treatment planning.
For example, a person with agoraphobia also fears crowded places. However, the reason for this fear is different from the reasons which explain social anxiety.
An agoraphobic is likely to be concerned about feeling helpless and trapped in this situation, while a person with social anxiety disorder probably fears being rejected or humiliated. This important difference suggests distinct treatment approaches.
Putting a label on psychological suffering is also welcomed by many people affected by these types of hardship. The feeling of finally understanding what it is that is happening to oneself can be alleviating and help to be better understood by others.
However, we want to point out that mental health diagnoses can also become an obstacle in therapy. If a person considers herself a social phobic, getting better might pose a threat on her identity.
Therefore, a mental health diagnosis may rather be seen as a humble attempt to describe the current psychological experience of a person and not as a static identity trait.
The Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale
Over the years, there have been various attempts to standardize the diagnosis of social anxiety disorder with the help of different questionnaires. Among the most used test worldwide is the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS; Liebowitz, 1987), which has stood the test of time.
The LSAS assesses a person’s anxiety/fear related to 24 social situations, as well as her tendency to avoid them.
About half of the situations can be considered social interaction situations, while the other half falls into the category of performance situations (Hart etl al., 1999; Herbert et al., 2010).
The LSAS has been shown to be a valid form of assessment and is considered a reliable test for social anxiety (Orsillo, 2001).
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