Social Anxiety Disorder – An Overview

Portia Osuji


Background: Social anxiety disorder (SAD), a type of anxiety disorder, is one of the most common psychiatric disorders. Early SAD symptoms often go undetected in the community. Thus, the disorder tends to run a chronic course.It is important to improve awareness about this disorder and to identify the socio-cultural factors which may affect health-seeking behaviors as well as coping skills in SAD. Methods: A detailed literature review was conducted with a focus on the worldwide prevalence, identification of SAD and how socio-cultural elements influence the health-seeking behavior of sufferers. Factors affecting treatment and current therapeutic methods as well as possible negative coping skills employed and their attendant implications were also identified.Results: SAD has a worldwide distribution. Prevalence rates vary slightly across and within countries. Socio-cultural dynamics significantly influence prevalence rates, health-seeking behaviour of patients and their care-givers as well as factors affecting treatment. Conclusion: There is an imperative need for socio-cultural adaptation of investigative tools used in epidemiological surveys. Clinicians need to be aware of the prevailing socio-cultural dynamics and how it affects clinical presentation, treatment approach and possible outcomes for SAD. This would facilitate the institution of appropriate interventions and enhance patient satisfaction.

Keywords: Social Anxiety Disorders, factors, Health-seeking behaviour, Implications, factors affecting therapy.

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