JUN 02, 2019 2:43 PM PDT

Drug Treatment for Social Anxiety Proves Insufficient

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

In a Japanese study published in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, antidepressant drugs targeted for treating patients with a social anxiety disorder (SAD) was proven insufficient in comparison to cognitive therapy.

SAD is also known as social phobia is one of the most prevalent mental disorders characterized by an abnormal amount of anxiety and fear for social interactions ranging from talking in front of people to speaking with strangers. SAD has early onset and can be functionally disabling in leading daily activities causing a considerable amount of distress. The disorder was proven to be a social economic burden in Japan with an estimate exceeding a loss of 10 billion USD per year.

Learn more about social anxiety disorder:

Although drug therapeutics are an effective treatment for SAD, some patients fail to remit with no standard approach established for treating such patients. A previous clinical trial study involving antidepressants showed that patients with SAD who were refractory to the drug therapeutic reported short-term effectiveness of cognitive therapy. However, the effect of maintaining long-term cognitive therapy is still unknown.

In the present study, antidepressant refractory patients who received 16-weeks of cognitive therapy had improvements in social anxiety symptoms during the interventional period.

Dr. Naoki Yoshinaga, a lecturer at the University of Miyazaki states that "People suffering from SAD could benefit not only from drug treatment but also from psychological treatment. In particular, cognitive therapy can be of help for them to overcome their problems. Even if drug treatment doesn't work, don't give up hope. Try to receive another psychological treatment, such as cognitive therapy, and continue your treatment with patience."

"Unfortunately, many patients are not in treatment. SAD is more than just shyness. If you have been having severe distress, avoiding certain social situations, and thus having difficulty in your daily life due to social anxiety, it's time to seek treatment,” says Dr. Eiji Shimizu, professor at Chiba University.

Source: Science Daily

About the Author
  • Nouran is a scientist, educator, and life-long learner with a passion for making science more communicable. When not busy in the lab isolating blood macrophages, she enjoys writing on various STEM topics.
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