Treatment for Social Anxiety Disorder

Arguably the most important clinical point to emerge from studies of social anxiety disorder is the benefit of early diagnosis and treatment. Social anxiety disorder remains under recognized in primary care practice, with patients often presenting for treatment only after the onset of complications such as major depression or substance use disorders. Improvement is lower for those with more severe social phobia and with comorbid disorders, such as avoidant personality disorder and depression. The patients who achieve full resolution are usually far fewer; there are still many who, after receiving treatment, are unable to function in the long-term without anxiety symptoms.

Research has provided evidence for the efficacy of two forms of treatment available for social phobia: certain medications and a specific form of short-term psychotherapy called cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), the central component being gradual exposure therapy.