Assessment and diagnosis for adults

When you first see or talk to a health or social care professional

When you first see or talk to a health or social care professional about your anxiety, they should ask you a few questions, such as:

  • how often you worry and how it affects your life

  • whether you can control your worries

  • whether you avoid social situations because you are afraid of being embarrassed or becoming the centre of attention

  • what your worst fears are.

If your answers suggest that you may have social anxiety disorder, you should be offered a fuller assessment.

Having an assessment

Your assessment should be with a healthcare professional experienced in treating people with mental health problems – this may be the same person you first saw or talked to.

If you decide to have the assessment in person you should receive a letter that states clearly where you should go when you arrive at the service, where you can wait (you should be offered a private waiting area or the choice to wait elsewhere, for example outside the service's premises), where facilities (such as the car park and toilets) are, and what will happen and not happen during the assessment.

If you find it difficult or distressing to attend a first appointment in person, the team may contact you by phone, but should encourage you to attend further appointments in person.

The assessment will help your healthcare professional find out whether you have social anxiety disorder or another mental health disorder. They should ask you about:

  • your thoughts, feelings and behaviour, including any fears or negative thoughts you have

  • whether you avoid any situations in everyday life

  • any anxiety symptoms you experience such as blushing, sweating or trembling

  • whether you worry a lot about your problems and how much they affect your life

  • how you view yourself

  • whether you have another mental health problem

  • your relationships and your living and working arrangements

  • any medication you are taking and whether you have an alcohol or drug problem, including whether you use alcohol or drugs to cope in social situations.

  • whether you have had a mental health problem before – and, if so whether any treatments were helpful

  • whether you have a physical health problem

  • whether anyone in your family has or has had a mental health problem.

You may be asked to answer a questionnaire.

If you are diagnosed with social anxiety disorder, your healthcare professional should give you information about it and the treatments for it, and discuss what you hope to get out of treatment. The information should cover the symptoms of the disorder, how long it might last, how it might affect your everyday life, common beliefs about what causes the disorder and what can be changed or treated, and the choice of effective treatments.

  • Information Standard