Thursday, January 11, 2007

Social anxiety disorder prevalence and functional disability

People suffering from social anxiety disorder seldom seek psychiatric treatment. Therefore, social anxiety disorder was thought to be a relatively rare disorder what led to a gross underestimation of the prevalence of the disease.

But the true prevalence of social anxiety disorder became obvious when community surveys were conducted. According to recent studies, 12-month and lifetime prevalence rates of social anxiety disorder reached 7.9% and 13.3%, respectively. Thus, social anxiety disorder appears to be a remarkably common but largely unrecognized disease.

In addition to being prevalent, social anxiety disorder is associated with substantial functional impairment. Social anxiety disorder is a disease of lost opportunities. Socially anxious people individuals often give up school and work because of their fear of speaking in public and interacting with others. They often don’t date and marry at all.

Still, when present to diagnosis and treatment, people suffering from social anxiety disorder report tremendous dissatisfaction with their lives. They perceive their quality of life to be poor and report extensive illness intrusiveness that result in their functional disability.

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