Social Anxiety Disorder Diagnosis Talking to Your Doctor About Social Anxiety By Arlin Cuncic Arlin Cuncic Arlin Cuncic, MA, is the author of "Therapy in Focus: What to Expect from CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder" and "7 Weeks to Reduce Anxiety." Learn about our editorial process Updated on September 28, 2020 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Rachel Goldman, PhD, FTOS Medically reviewed by Rachel Goldman, PhD, FTOS Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Rachel Goldman, PhD FTOS, is a licensed psychologist, clinical assistant professor, speaker, wellness expert specializing in eating behaviors, stress management, and health behavior change. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print Portra Images / Getty Images Many people with symptoms of social anxiety disorder (SAD) never receive an official diagnosis because they're afraid to talk to their doctor about how they're feeling. You may feel like you don't know what to say or how to explain it, or maybe you even feel embarrassed about your social anxiety. You're not alone; many people with social anxiety feel similarly. It is important to realize that anxiety is very common—almost 20% of U.S. adults experience at least one anxiety disorder each year and more than 30% will experience some type of anxiety disorder during their lifetime. Unfortunately, research suggests that only about 20% of people with anxiety disorders receive treatment. You don't have to be one of those numbers. Here are some tips to help you talk to your doctor. Write It Down One good solution to this problem is to present your doctor with a case summary instead of trying to verbally explain your symptoms. In general, a case summary is a concise description of your history of symptoms. The summary should be detailed but short enough that your doctor can read through it quickly. If you decide to do a case summary, here are the key points you should address: Your background information: Highlight any important family mental health history, relevant family and social relationships, your history with drugs and alcohol (if applicable), challenges you have with everyday life, your goals, and how you cope with your symptoms.Your symptoms: Make a list of all the symptoms you experience, whether physical, emotional, or sensory, as well as how they make you feel and/or what they make you think. Even if you don't bring a case summary, it's a good idea to write out your thoughts ahead of time in bullet point form. Doing so ensures that nothing gets forgotten, even if you become anxious when speaking with your doctor. Writing down the answers that your doctor gives will also give you a written record of what was said and help to keep you focused on that instead of your anxiety. Acknowledge Your Anxiety Before starting to speak with your doctor, tell them that you're going to have a hard time talking with them. If you decide to prepare a case summary, include a statement at the beginning that explains how you feel about sharing this information. Your statement might look something like this: "I probably look fine to you now, but inside I am terrified that you're judging me. When I talk to doctors I become very anxious, my mind goes blank, and I can't explain what's wrong." Bring Someone Along Bring someone with you to speak to your doctor. In addition to having the emotional support of a friend or family member, that person can listen to what is said, think of questions, and ask for clarification when necessary. A second person could also take notes of what is said during the meeting. Remember Doctors Are There to Help Although it can be intimidating talking to professionals about personal issues, it's your doctor's job to listen and understand. Trusting your doctor may be hard, but sharing how you're feeling is the first step toward getting help. If for some reason you feel that your doctor isn't helping you or isn't the right choice for treating your SAD, you may want to look for someone else. You need to feel comfortable and safe with whoever is treating you. A Word From Verywell Anxiety conditions such as social anxiety disorder are about twice as common in women than men, which is why experts recommend that women and girls over the age of 13 should be screened for anxiety. If you are struggling to describe what you are feeling, consider asking your doctor for an anxiety screening. It might serve as a good starting point to talk about some of the symptoms you are experiencing. If you or a loved one are struggling with social anxiety disorder, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area. For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database. The Best Online Anxiety Support Groups 3 Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Goetter EM, Frumkin MR, Palitz SA, et al. Barriers to mental health treatment among individuals with social anxiety disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. Psychol Serv. 2020;17(1):5-12. doi:10.1037/ser0000254 National Institute of Mental Health. Any anxiety disorder. Gregory KD, Chelmow D, Nelson HD, et al. Screening for anxiety in adolescent and adult women: A recommendation rrom the Women's Preventive Services Initiative. Ann Intern Med. 2020. doi:10.7326/M20-0580 By Arlin Cuncic Arlin Cuncic, MA, is the author of "Therapy in Focus: What to Expect from CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder" and "7 Weeks to Reduce Anxiety." See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist for Social Anxiety Disorder Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.