Treatment of Social Anxiety Disorder: A Case Study of a 24-Year-Old

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Heidorn, Alex
Washburn University
Psychology Department
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The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V) describes the primary feature of social anxiety disorder (SAD) as persistent and significant fear of judgment in social situations; avoidance of feared social situations is a common feature (American Psychological Association, APA, 2013). The person might fear being judged as anxious, weak, crazy, stupid, boring, intimidating, dirty, or unlikable. The socially anxious individual may fear that their symptoms of social anxiety will be noticed by others and lead to negative evaluation. Some examples of these symptoms include blushing, trembling, sweating, stumbling over words, and staring. To receive a diagnosis of SAD, the individual must almost always experience fear or anxiety in relevant social situations, meaning that someone who only occasionally becomes anxious will most likely not meet criteria. The anxiety experienced by the individual must also be disproportionate to the context of the situation. The social anxiety must cause clinically significant distress or impairment in important areas of functioning (e.g., social life, job) for 6 months or more and cannot be explained by the physiological effects of a substance or another mental disorder. If another medical condition that could cause anxiety is present (e.g., Parkinson’s disease), the individual’s fear must be unrelated to that condition or excessive. The DSM-5 (APA, 2013) states that the most common comorbid disorders are other anxiety disorders, major depressive disorder, and substance use disorders. With most comorbid disorders, SAD precedes them except for specific phobia and separation anxiety disorder. The following are common comorbidities in the DSM-5: major depressive disorder, substance use disorders, specific phobia, separation anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, and body dysmorphic disorder.
An Empirically Supported Treatment Case Study