A study has found that talking therapy is a more effective method of treatment than prescribing pills when it comes to social anxiety disorders.
The results of the study were concluded after a review of 101 clinical trials which involved more than 13,000 participants. The research compared different types of psychological therapy with medications such as antidepressants and benzodiazepines. The results showed that talking therapies were not only more effective, but longer lasting than medication.
The team behind the study at The Lancet Psychiatry said that pills should only be used when psychological treatments have been turned down and that cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) on a one-to-one basis provides the most effective outcome.
Dr Evan Mayo-Wilson from the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health commented:
“The good news from our study is that social anxiety is treatable. Now that we know what works best, we need to improve access to psychotherapy for those suffering.”
Social anxiety disorder is thought to affect as many as 1 in 10 adults at some point during their lives. It occurs when people become very anxious about what other people think of them or how they might be judged by others. As a result, people suffering with social anxiety disorder have great difficulty in social situations which can affect their day-to-day life.
The cause of social anxiety disorder is thought to be a combination of our genetic makeup which makes some more prone to the condition than others and bad experiences as a child. For many, social phobia begins after an embarrassing and distressing experience that happens as a child and sticks with us for the rest of our lives.
For more information about anxiety, its symptoms and the treatment available, please feel free to visit our Depression and Anxiety Treatment Programmes page. You can also learn more about anxiety and depression and our Knowledge centre.