Your wife wants you to go to the office party with her. Nuts, the one six months ago was a car crash. You didn’t know a soul and felt like judging eyes were all over you – so you bailed. Social anxiety disorder ain’t fun.

Unfortunately, like with so many anxiety disorders, individuals with SAD often choose to leave things as they are and somehow drag themselves through life. If that’s you…

Update 12.10.22 US FDA clinical trials have begun on a dry powder inhaled cannabidiol (CBD) product for the acute treatment of social anxiety disorder. The scoop from Yahoo Finance.

Social anxiety disorder is one of the most common emotional/mental disorders. It’s also one of the most underreported.

Given its standing and potential for significant life interruption, having a “need to know” article on social anxiety disorder (SAD – not to be confused with seasonal affective disorder) available on Chipur is a necessity.

The “why” of it all is simple. Identifying misery is crucial to one who suffers. I mean, what could be worse than struggling through an unknown – unnamed – hell?

And, of course, relief doesn’t happen in the absence of knowledge.

Let’s do the “whats”…

What is social anxiety disorder?

Well, I suppose the best way to begin painting a SAD picture is to summarize the highlights of the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-5 diagnostic criteria.

Okay, SAD is about a persistent fear of one or more social or performance situations in which the individual will be exposed to unfamiliar people or possible scrutiny by others.

If that happens the individual becomes afraid their behavior or anxiety symptoms will be embarrassing or humiliating.

Triggered anxiety

what is social anxiety disorder

“I’m really not up to facing anybody.”

Given the stakes are that high, there’s a pretty good chance that exposure to a feared situation will result in some pretty immediate and intense anxiety.

Panic attacks and disruptive worry can certainly be in the mix.

Frustrating thing is, the individual knows the over-the-top fear doesn’t make sense.

Still, the dreaded situations are avoided or endured with great anxiety and clenching of teeth.

Ultimately, the avoidance, anticipatory anxiety, distress, etc. cause significant routine and life interruption.

If you’ve been there you know how horrible it is.

Misperception and misrepresentation

Continuing within the emotional realm, many SAD sufferers have been labeled as shy, quiet, withdrawn, inhibited, nervous, aloof, and unfriendly.

Truth be told, most folks enduring SAD are just the opposite. And it’s their disorder that causes the misperception and misrepresentation.

Triggers and physical features of social anxiety disorder

It’s important to know some of the common triggers of SAD. Here ya’ go…

  • Being introduced to others
  • Being the center of attention
  • Being teased or criticized
  • Being watched or observed while doing something
  • Any form of public speaking
  • Interacting with people of authority
  • Writing, talking, making phone calls in public
  • Going eye-to-eye with someone

And here are some common physical features…

  • Racing heartbeat
  • Excessive sweating
  • Blushing
  • Dry mouth and throat
  • Trembling and muscle twitches

Finally, the manifestations of SAD make it look a lot like panic disorder and/or agoraphobia. But there are key differences, so don’t be fooled.

And to make things all the more confusing, they can coexist. Yikes!

How do you treat social anxiety disorder?

I’m here to tell you SAD is a treatable disorder and great outcomes can occur. But before one is likely to pursue diagnosis and treatment, there has to be insight into the fact that a problem exists and it’s time for the suffering to end.

Unfortunately, like with so many anxiety disorders, individuals with SAD often choose to leave things as they are and somehow drag themselves through life.

If that’s you, I encourage you to reconsider and tell your story to a professional. I believe you’ll be glad you did.


Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the primo treatment choice for SAD. Effective techniques include exposure, cognitive restructuring, and social skills training. Group work can be especially valuable.

Acceptance and commitment therapy, psychoanalysis, and psychodynamic therapy are also commonly used.


As with treatment for any emotional/mental situation, meds can be of assistance when it comes to managing SAD. But meds are never the entire answer, so don’t get your hopes up if you’re thinking about sidestepping therapy.

No surprise, antidepressants are first in line for the treatment of SAD. FDA approval has been given to sertraline (Zoloft), paroxetine (Paxil), and venlafaxine (Effexor).

Here are some of the other meds frequently prescribed – off label…

  • Other SSRI and SNRI antidepressants
  • Beta blockers
  • Benzodiazepines
  • hydroxyzine (Vistaril), buspirone (Buspar)

There you have it. Just keep in mind, meds with therapy is always the most effective angle.

Why suffer needlessly?

So a quick “need to know” on social anxiety disorder. I’m glad to have it on board.

No doubt about it, ain’t fun at all. And that’s why it’s so important to pursue diagnosis and treatment if you’re SAD.

Why suffer needlessly?

Hey, shout-out to the Social Anxiety Association for reference material.

BTW, if you’re looking for some pleasant and meaningful reading material, check out my eBook, Feelings & Rhymes Through Treacherous Times.

Speaking of reading material, peruse the Chipur mood and anxiety info and inspiration titles.

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