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Keywords:

  • DSM-5;
  • social anxiety disorder;
  • social phobia;
  • diagnostic criteria;
  • diagnosis;
  • classification;
  • specifiers

With the publication of DSM-5, the diagnostic criteria for social anxiety disorder (SAD, also known as social phobia) have undergone several changes, which have important conceptual and clinical implications. In this paper, we first provide a brief history of the diagnosis. We then review a number of these changes, including (1) the primary name of the disorder, (2) the increased emphasis on fear of negative evaluation, (3) the importance of sociocultural context in determining whether an anxious response to a social situation is out of proportion to the actual threat, (4) the diagnosis of SAD in the context of a medical condition, and (5) the way in which we think about variations in the presentation of SAD (the specifier issue). We then consider the clinical implications of changes in DSM-5 related to these issues.