Prevalence of Social Anxiety Disorder among Medical Students from Six Medical Schools in Khartoum State
Background: Social anxiety disorder (social phobia) is a type of anxiety disorder which is characterized by significant anxiety and discomfort about being embarrassed, humiliated, rejected, or looked down on in social interactions. Although it affects about 30% of adults worldwide at some point in their lives, lifetime social anxiety disorder affects only about 4% of the world population. People with this disorder experience extreme fear of social interactions (e.g., public speaking and meeting new people). This anxiety affects daily functions and lasts at least six months. They may also experience strong physical symptoms like rapid heart rate, nausea, vomiting, and full-blown attacks. Social phobia can be treated by a combination of psychotherapy and medical treatment (e.g., anti-anxiety, antidepressants, and beta-blockers).
Methods: This study was conducted using the Arabic SPIN and a group of questions to assess the associated factors, complications, and sociodemographic determinate of social anxiety disorder and included a total of 375 medical students from different universities and educational years.
Results: The overall prevalence of social anxiety disorder among our participants was 61.3%, of which 19.2% had mild, 21.6% moderate, 10.9% severe, and 9.6% had very severe SAD. There was a significant difference regarding self-esteem, academic achievement, and drug addiction between students with social phobia and students with no social phobia.
Conclusion: Social phobia is quite prevalent among Sudanese medical students, particularly the severe form of the disorder with no significant gender differences. It seems to affect self-esteem and academic achievement and can be associated with drug addiction.
Keywords: social phobia, prevalence, medical students, Sudanese
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