Which Disorders Are Related to Social Anxiety Disorder?

Disorders Related to Social Anxiety Disorder

Depression and social anxiety disorder often appear together.
Depression can be related to social anxiety disorder. Getty / Stone / Tamara Staples

Many disorders are related to social anxiety disorder (SAD). Having SAD increases the chance that you will suffer with another disorder, and also makes receiving treatment a little more complex.

Below are some disorders that commonly go along with social anxiety disorder. Click on any of the links below to read a more in-depth article on each disorder.

Avoidant Personality Disorder

If you have avoidant personality disorder (APD), you will experience many of the same symptoms as someone with SAD, however they will be broader and more severe.

Because of the overlap between the two disorders, it is possible to be diagnosed with both APD and social anxiety disorder.

Panic Disorder

Panic disorder differs from SAD in terms of the triggers of panic, the kind of symptoms that are experienced, and beliefs about the underlying causes. It is possible to be diagnosed with both panic disorder and social anxiety disorder, and the treatments may or may not be the same for both disorders.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

If you suffer with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), your worry tends to be broad and general, rather than focused on social or performance situations. In addition, the physical symptoms that you experience differ from those associated with SAD.

Depression

There is an established relationship between depression and social anxiety disorder—if you've been diagnosed with SAD, you are more likely to develop depression later in life.

Ironically, people who suffer from both depression and SAD often only seek help for depression, even though they may have had severe social anxiety for many more years.

Unfortunately, treating depression without also treating underlying social anxiety will not be as effective.

Alcoholism

If you suffer with social anxiety disorder, you are more likely to also suffer with alcoholism. Often people with SAD begin drinking to cope—but eventually drinking becomes a problem in its own right.

If you have both social anxiety disorder and alcoholism, treatment must be tailored to your unique situation.

Eating Disorders

If you have been diagnosed with an eating disorder you are more vulnerable to developing SAD. Although a fear of eating can occur in both disorders, the underlying reason for the fear is quite different.

Sources:

American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author; 2013.

Hales RE, Yudofsky SC, eds. The American psychiatry publishing textbook of clinical psychiatry. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric; 2003.

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