Social anxiety disorder under scrutiny.
Social anxiety disorder (social phobia) is a chronic disabling condition. As with many psychiatric disorders, the condition is likely to have several causes, including genetic and familial factors, early experiences, and cognitive mechanisms. This review will briefly examine the etiology of social anxiety disorder. The approach required during diagnosis of the condition will also be addressed, in particular, the differentiation between social anxiety disorder and other anxiety disorders with similar presentation. The main focus of this article is to review available treatment options for social anxiety disorder, both psychosocial and pharmacotherapeutic. A number of management strategies have shown promise for the treatment of the condition. The International Consensus Group on Depression and Anxiety recently recommended that a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) should be considered as first-line pharmacotherapy. To date, however, paroxetine is the only SSRI that is licensed for the treatment of social anxiety disorder.
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