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Social anxiety disorder: what are we losing with the current diagnostic criteria?

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Filho AS, Hetem LAB, Ferrari MCF, Trzesniak C, Martín-Santos R, Borduqui T, de Lima Osório F, Loureiro SR, Busatto Filho G, Zuardi AW, Crippa JAS. Social anxiety disorder: what are we losing with the current diagnostic criteria? Objective: 

To assess the rate of comorbidities and the functional impairment associated with the social anxiety disorder (SAD), with an emphasis on the so-called subthreshold clinical signs and symptoms. Method: 

Psychiatric comorbidities and psychosocial functioning were evaluated in 355 volunteers (college students) who had been diagnosed as SAD (n = 141), Subthreshold SAD (n = 92) or Controls (n = 122). Results: 

The rate of comorbidities was 71.6% in the SAD group and 50% in subjects with Subthreshold SAD, both significantly greater than Controls (28.7%). Concerning psychosocial functioning, the SAD group had higher impairment than the other two groups in all domains evaluated, and subjects with Subthreshold SAD presented intermediate values. Conclusion: 

The rates of psychiatric comorbidities and the impairment of psychosocial functioning increase progressively along the spectrum of social anxiety. The fact that Subthreshold SAD causes considerable disability and suffering in comparison with control subjects justifies a review of the validity of the diagnostic criteria.

Keywords: college students; comorbidity; diagnosis; prevalence; psychosocial impairment; social anxiety

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Neuroscience and Behavior, Faculty of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo, São Paulo

Publication date: March 1, 2010


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