Comorbidities of Social Anxiety
The overall lifetime prevalence of SAD is anywhere from 1 to 16%.1 It's usually given as about 7%, with 13% lifetime prevalence.2 Onset is usually in adolescence.3 It is higher in women than men, and in younger people than older people.1,3

People with SAD commonly have many comorbidities. These include:


Major Depressive Disorder has been found in anywhere from 19.5% to over 58% of people with SAD.1,2

By contrast, the prevalence (12-month) in the general population is 6.6% (16% lifetime).4

Other Anxiety Disorders

Co-occurrence of other anxiety disorders is also high, about 38%, and increases when Major Depressive Disorder is present to 65.2%.1 By contrast, the rate of having other anxiety disorders is about 7% for the general population.1

Other Phobias The presence of another phobia in people with SAD has been found to be 27% to 59%.1 It is 5-12% in the general population.5

Personality Disorders

SAD is highly correlated with personality disorders, especially Avoidant Personality Disorder.6

Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol abuse is very high in people with SAD, about 20% - 28%.7,8 It's 4.65% in the general population.9 Those will SAD are 2-3 times more likely to develop an alcohol disorder than those without SAD.10 Those with an alcohol disorder are 10 times more likely to have SAD than those without.11


Anxiety disorders in general are highly associated with suicide attempts.12 Among different anxiety disorders, people with SAD, in particular, are more likely to engage in self-harm, and do it multiple times, with at least one of the times being a true suicide attempt.13


In one study, people with SAD had a 19.2% unemployment rate, while the general population had a 7.5% unemployment rate. They were less likely to be in managerial positions (1.6% vs. 7.1%) and more likely to have left a job for mental or emotional reasons (24% vs. 5%). They were twice as likely to be in the lowest income category.16 People with SAD are 2.25 times as likely to be unemployed as those with other anxiety disorders.17


1. Ohayon MM, Schatzberg AF. Social phobia and depression: prevalence and comorbidity. J Psychosom Res. 2010;68(3):235-243. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychores.2009.07.018.

2. Belzer K, Schneier FR. Comorbidity of anxiety and depressive disorders: issues in conceptualization, assessment, and treatment. J Psychiatr Pract. 2004;10(5):296-306.

3. Schneier FR, Johnson J, Hornig CD, Liebowitz MR, Weissman MM. Social phobia. Comorbidity and morbidity in an epidemiologic sample. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1992;49(4):282-288.

4. Kessler RC, Berglund P, Demler O, et al. The epidemiology of major depressive disorder: results from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R). JAMA J Am Med Assoc. 2003;289(23):3095-3105. doi:10.1001/jama.289.23.3095.

5. Phobias: Specific Phobias Types and Symptoms. Available at: Accessed August 28, 2014.

6. Friborg O, Martinussen M, Kaiser S, Overgård KT, Rosenvinge JH. Comorbidity of personality disorders in anxiety disorders: a meta-analysis of 30 years of research. J Affect Disord. 2013;145(2):143-155. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2012.07.004.

7. Randall CL, Thomas S, Thevos AK. Concurrent alcoholism and social anxiety disorder: a first step toward developing effective treatments. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2001;25(2):210-220.

8. Van Ameringen M, Mancini C, Styan G, Donison D. Relationship of social phobia with other psychiatric illness. J Affect Disord. 1991;21(2):93-99.

9. Grant BF, Dawson DA, Stinson FS, Chou SP, Dufour MC, Pickering RP. The 12-month prevalence and trends in DSM-IV alcohol abuse and dependence: United States, 1991-1992 and 2001-2002. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2004;74(3):223-234. doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2004.02.004.

10. Kushner MG, Sher KJ, Beitman BD. The relation between alcohol problems and the anxiety disorders. Am J Psychiatry. 1990;147(6):685-695.

11. Kessler RC, Crum RM, Warner LA, Nelson CB, Schulenberg J, Anthony JC. Lifetime co-occurrence of DSM-III-R alcohol abuse and dependence with other psychiatric disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1997;54(4):313-321.

12. Mars B, Heron J, Crane C, et al. Differences in risk factors for self-harm with and without suicidal intent: Findings from the ALSPAC cohort. J Affect Disord. 2014;168C:407-414. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2014.07.009.

13. Chartrand H, Sareen J, Toews M, Bolton JM. Suicide attempts versus nonsuicidal self-injury among individuals with anxiety disorders in a nationally representative sample. Depress Anxiety. 2012;29(3):172-179. doi:10.1002/da.20882.

14. Thibodeau MA, Welch PG, Sareen J, Asmundson GJG. Anxiety disorders are independently associated with suicide ideation and attempts: propensity score matching in two epidemiological samples. Depress Anxiety. 2013;30(10):947-954. doi:10.1002/da.22203.

15. Crosby AE, Han B, Ortega LAG, Parks SE, Gfroerer J, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Suicidal thoughts and behaviors among adults aged ? 18 years--United States, 2008-2009. Morb Mortal Wkly Rep Surveill Summ Wash DC 2002. 2011;60(13):1-22.

16. Patel A, Knapp M, Henderson J, Baldwin D. The economic consequences of social phobia. J Affect Disord. 2002;68(2-3):221-233.

17. Moitra E, Beard C, Weisberg RB, Keller MB. Occupational impairment and Social Anxiety Disorder in a sample of primary care patients. J Affect Disord. 2011;130(1-2):209-212. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2010.09.024.

Please Help Us to Help Others to Find Their Voice