News and Research
Adolescent Social Stress Increases Risk of Diseases Later in Life
A study of adolescents who experience social and financial stress shows they have an increased risk for higher blood pressure, body weight, and cholesterol levels and the associated diseases later in life. (Annals of Behavioral Medicine, published online) Read more.
Some Shy Teens Have Social Anxiety Disorder
A new study analyzed how many teens appeared to meet the American Psychiatric Association's criteria for social anxiety disorder or social phobia resulted in roughly 1 in 10 of the self-described shy kids. The findings challenge criticism that the terms "social phobia" and "social anxiety disorder" medicalize normal shyness. (Pediatrics, published online Oct. 17, 2011) Read more.
Technological Therapy Shows Promise
Cognitive behavior modification (CBM), which uses computer software to help divert patients' attention from anxiety and interpret situations more calmly, is showing promise in the treatment of social anxiety disorder, suggests new research. (Depression and Anxiety, published online Sept. 2, 2011) Read more.
Comparing Two Therapies for Social Anxiety Disorder
While cognitive therapy was more efficacious in reducing symptoms of social anxiety disorder, both cognitive therapy and interpersonal psychotherapy led to considerable improvements that were maintained one year following treatment. (Archives of General Psychiatry, 2011;68(7):692-700). Read more.
Obesity-Related Social Anxiety Disorder
Social anxiety disorder and obesity-related SAD have similar symptom severity, which provides support for a recommendation to include a diagnosis of obesity-related social anxiety disorder in the upcoming fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). (Depression and Anxiety, published online February 9, 2011) Read more.
Altered Amygdala Connections
A study is the first to reveal a network of abnormal effective connectivity of core structures in the brains of people with social anxiety disorder. (PLoS ONE, 5(12): published online December 22, 2010) Read more.
Social Stress Linked to Physical Ailments
Researchers have discovered that the way the brain responds to social stressors can influence the body's immune system in ways that may negatively affect health. Those who have greater neural sensitivity to social rejection also appear to have increased chronic inflammation, increasing the risk of asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer, and depression. (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, published online August 2010) Read more.
Two Anxiety Disorders Common With Narcolepsy
People who have narcolepsy are highly susceptible to social anxiety and panic attacks, but appropriate types of treatment have not been identified. (General Hospital Psychiatry, 2010; 32(1): 49-56) Read more.
Genetic Contribution to Stress-Induced Depression and Social Anxiety
Researchers who developed a new mouse model may have clues about why some people are more likely to develop depression after experiencing stress. Mice with a genetic change associated with depression in people were more likely to develop characteristics of depression and social anxiety. (Disease Models & Mechanisms, published online April 2010)
Bullies May Have Social Anxiety Disorder
New research from psychologists at George Mason University suggests that a subset of adults diagnosed with social anxiety disorder engaged in acts of violence, substance abuse, unprotected sex and other high-risk behaviors. (Current Directions in Psychological Science, February 2010; 19: 47-50)
Combination Treatment Effective for Social Anxiety Disorder
The results of a new study show that a combination of the monoamine oxidase inhibitor phenelzine sulfate and cognitive-behavioral group therapy (CBGT) is superior to either treatment alone and a placebo for the treatment of social anxiety disorder. (Archives of General Psychiatry, 2010; 67(3): 286-295)
Predictor of Social Anxiety Disorder in Adolescence
A new study found that early behavioral inhibition reported by mothers predicted an increased risk of a social anxiety disorder diagnosis during adolescence, suggesting important implications for the early identification and prevention. (Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 2009; 48(9): 928-935)
Genetic Risk for Anxiety Not Destiny
A new study challenges the view that people with particular genotypes are at greater risk for depression, anxiety disorders, and problems with alcohol and substance abuse. This study suggests that other features of the social environment influence development, and that genes that affect behavioral responses are sensitive to these influences. (Biological Psychiatry; 2009: 65(9): 770-777)
Attention Training Effective for Social Anxiety Disorder and GAD
Two studies of attention training showed that it alleviated social anxiety disorder and generalized anxiety disorder as effectively as cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy (CBT) and anti-anxiety medication had in earlier investigations. Attention training helps subjects practice how not to focus on threatening words or on photos of threatening faces. Unlike CBT or medication, attention training requires minimal professional supervision, causes no side effects, and could be completed over the Internet. (Journal of Abnormal Psychology. 2009;118(1):5–14)
Social Anxiety Disorder as a Risk Factor for Alcohol Use Disorders
Researchers testing social anxiety disorder as a risk factor for alcohol abuse disorder have found that the disorders are related among women. Findings also highlight in women the roles of social anxiety disorder and familial support in the onset of alcohol abuse disorder. (Drug and Alcohol Dependence, v.100, issues 1-2, 1 February 2009: 128-137)
People With Social Phobia Greatly Affected by Disturbing Images
People with social phobia (social anxiety disorder) react more negatively to disturbing socially threatening images, such as scowling faces or a riot scene, than do people without this disorder. A recent study shows that socially phobic individuals had difficulty regulating negative feelings with cognitive controls. (Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2009; 66(2):170-180)