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"What is social anxiety disorder?"


I know this is strange, but I have a lot of nervousness about going into public without wearing certain clothes and makeup. I'm actually unable to go if I don't feel like I've fully prepared myself. I read in a forum that this can actually indicate a social anxiety disorder. But what is that? Do I really have one?


You symptoms are somewhat consistent with social anxiety disorder, but not perfectly. I'll describe the classic patient with social anxiety disorder and you can decide if you think this sounds like you. Only a qualified health care professional, namely a psychiatrist can officially diagnose and treat social anxiety disorder.

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Social anxiety disorder is a condition in which a person has a very high level of anxiety about social situations. Often these are people that are described as "very shy". Patients often report an extreme fear of being judged or scrutinized by others and will do anything to avoid embarrassment. Symptoms can be severe that they interfere with normal daily functioning because the person cannot engage in normal social situations. Patients themselves view the symptoms as unusual and wish they didn't have them. Your description of being especially nervous about going into public without wearing certain clothes sounds it could be consistent with social anxiety disorder, but you may not completely fit the criteria. I suggest that you describe your symptoms and express your concerns to your primary care physician. He or she may decide to refer you to a psychiatrist who can do a full evaluation of your symptoms and decide what type of treatment is most likely to help you.

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