Talk therapy may help social anxiety more than drugs
People with social anxiety disorder--also known as social phobia--may benefit more from talk therapy than from drugs such as anxiety medications and antidepressants, according to new research.
Social anxiety is classified a psychiatric condition characterized by intense fear of social situations that may impede normal daily life.
In the study, scientists at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health collected data from 101 clinical trials involving more than 13,000 people with social anxiety. The researchers examined the effectiveness of various therapies, including various medications and talk therapies, such as cognitive behavioral thearpy (CBT).
The study's findings, published in the journal The Lancet Psychiatry, showed that CBT was more effective in treating people with social anxiety than were any of the medications. They did not find sufficient evidence that a combination of the two produces better results than either of the treatments alone.
The researchers concluded that CBT should be regarded as a first line of treatment for people with social anxiety disorder. They added that the benefits of talk therapy may also continue after treatment ends, whereas research has shown that many people with social anxiety who take medications get worse when they stop taking the drugs.