Social Anxiety Disorder

How to Know When Professional Help is Needed

What is social anxiety disorder?

Social anxiety disorder is an extreme fear of social situations that gets in the way of living life to its fullest. For example, people with social anxiety disorder often have difficulty finishing school or getting a job because of social fears. Some people with social anxiety disorder fear lots of situations, whereas other people have one specific social fear (such as public speaking). Both of these types of social anxiety disorder are treatable in a short period of time. Social anxiety disorder often develops in early adolescence, but can also develop in adulthood.

How is social anxiety disorder treated?

Social anxiety disorder is very treatable. We spend 8-12 sessions using cognitive-behavioral therapy to help you learn how to face situations that were previously intolerable. We can help you expand your world and live a life worth living, that includes being able to participate in previously unbearable social events.

Symptoms of social anxiety disorder

  • Avoiding social situations
  • Feeling extremely uncomfortable in social situations
  • Worrying that others will judge you negatively
  • Fearing that others will notice you look anxious
  • Spending time after social interactions worrying about how the interaction went
  • Physical symptoms such as trembling, sweating, and upset stomach

What are common social situations that are hard for people with social anxiety disorder?

  • Public speaking
  • Eating in public
  • Using public restrooms
  • Talking to strangers
  • Making phone calls
  • Dating
  • Attending parties of gatherings
  • Raising your hand in class
  • Starting conversations
  • Returning items to the store
  • Going to work or school
  • Making eye contact
  • Taking tests

Expert Help at Behavioral Wellness Clinic

Clinical Director Dr. Cheri Levinson is uses evidence-based therapies to help people with social anxiety disorder. She has worked with top experts in the treatment of and research of this condition at Washington University in St. Louis, the St. Louis Behavioral Medicine Institute, and the University of North Carolina. She has published widely in the social anxiety disorder field and is a member of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, where she has presented her work. Specifically, she specializes in cognitive-behavioral therapy for social anxiety disorder and related conditions.

Papers by Our Experts

Rodebaugh, T. L., Levinson, C. A., Langer, J. K., Weeks, J., Heimberg, R. G., Brown, P. J., Menatti, A. R., Schneier, F. R., Blanco, C., & Liebowitz, M. R. (in press). The structure of vulnerabilities for social anxiety disorder. Psychiatry Research.

Levinson, C. A., Rodebaugh, T. L., Lim, M., & Fernandez, K.C. (2015). A Core Extrusion Schema Short Form: Hiding oneself predicts severity of social interaction anxiety. Assessment, 1-12.

Levinson, C. A., Rodebaugh, T. L., Shumaker, E.A., Menatti, A.R., Weeks, J.W., White, E., Heimberg, R. G., Blanco, C., Schneier, F, & Liebowitz, M. (2015). Perceptions matter for clinical perfectionism and social anxiety. The Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 29, 61-71.

Kaplan, S.C., Levinson, C.A., Rodebaugh, T.L., Menatti, A.R., & Weeks, J.W. (2015). Social anxiety and the Big Five Personality traits: The interactive relationship of trust and openness. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, 44, 212-222.

Williams, M. T., Capozzoli, M., Buckner, E., & Yusko, D. (2015). Cognitive-behavioral treatment of social anxiety disorder with comorbid schizophrenia. Clinical Case Studies, 14(5), 323-341. doi: 10.1177/1534650114559717

Rodebaugh, T. L., Lim, M. H., Fernandez, K. C., Langer, J. K., Weisman, J. S., Tonge, N., Levinson, C. A., & Shumaker, E. A. (2014). Self and friend’s differing views of social anxiety disorder’s effects on friendship. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 123, 715-724.

Levinson, C.A., Langer, J.K., & Rodebaugh, T. L. (2013). Reactivity to exclusion prospectively predicts social anxiety symptoms in young adults. Behavior Therapy, 44, 470-478.

Chapman, L. K., DeLapp, R.C.T., & Williams, M. T. (2013). Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Social Anxiety among Ethnic Minority Patients, Part 1: Understanding Differences. Directions in Psychiatry, 33(3), 151-162.

Chapman, L. K., DeLapp, R.C.T., & Williams, M. T. (2013). Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Social Anxiety among Ethnic Minority Patients, Part 2: Bridging the Gap in Treatment. Directions in Psychiatry, 33(3), 163-176.

Fernandez, K.C., Levinson, C. A., & Rodebaugh, T. L. (2012). Profiling: Predicting social anxiety from Facebook. Social Psychological and Personality Science. 6, 707-712.

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