Social anxiety disorder in callers to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America.
Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is among the most common anxiety disorders with a lifetime prevalence of up to 16%. Among callers to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA), we surveyed 1,000 participants using a 97-item questionnaire to understand the characteristics of participants with SAD and subthreshold SAD (SSAD). Current prevalence rates of SAD (n=295) and SSAD (n=41) were 29.5% and 4.1%, respectively. SAD and SSAD participants were more likely to be younger, single, with less education and lower income than their no axis-I-psychiatric-disorder controls (NAC). In addition, they presented with more psychiatric comorbidity, lifetime numbers of trauma, recent psychotropic use and side effects. Increased medical comorbidity, health service utilization, as well as reduced work productivity were also found, particularly among SAD participants. SSAD participants were comparable to SAD participants for most of the measures with a few exceptions, mainly less psychiatric comorbidity, less medication use for panic attack and social fear, and fewer visits to the health professionals. In conclusion, SAD was highly prevalent among callers to the ADAA. SAD participants were particularly impaired and tended to use the health care system extensively. Although SSAD participants were less impaired than those with SAD, they were disadvantaged in many ways. Early diagnosis and better treatment are urged for reducing costs and improving life. An organization such as ADAA can play a vital role in bringing this about.
Zhang, W; Ross, J; Davidson, JRT
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