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Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) found to be effective against social anxiety disorder

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The cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), commonly used to treat social anxiety disorder, is far more effective, in addition to having long lasting effects after the treatment is stopped, says a research study. This neurological condition causes severe brain impairment that includes shunning friendships to turning down work promotions, thereby requiring increased social interaction. Evan Mayo-Wilson, a research scientist at the Johns Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health said, 'The good news is that social anxiety can be treated. Since we know what clinical therapy works best, we need to improve access to psychotherapy for people suffering from this condition.'

Social anxiety disorder is a psychiatric condition characterised by intense fear and avoidance of social situations. For the study, Mayo-Wilson and his colleagues analysed data from 13,164 participants in 101 clinical trials suffering from severe and longstanding social anxiety. Approximately 9,000 people received medication or a placebo pill, and more than 4,000 received a psychological intervention. The data compared several different types of talk therapy and found individual CBT was the most effective.

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'CBT is a form of treatment that focuses on relationships between thoughts, feelings and behaviours. It helps people challenge irrational fears and overcome their avoidance of social situations,' Mayo-Wilson explained. For people who do not want talk therapy or who lack access to CBT, the most commonly used antidepressants - selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) - are effective, the researchers found.

They, however, caution that medication can be associated with serious adverse events, that it does not work at all for many people and that improvements in symptoms do not last after people stop taking the pills. The findings of the study were published online in The Lancet Psychiatry.

Here are some symptoms of anxiety

1. Restlessness: Anxiety usually stems from stress and the first thing that happens to someone who s stressed is a feeling of restlessness. If you have had a few sleepless nights because of a personal issue that s bothering you, you could be stressed. But if your sleep gets affected with every situation in your life, you have anxiety.

2. Irritability: Because of lack of proper sleep and constant worry, irritability or frustration throughout the day is natural. But if you can t focus at all on anything else and keep thinking about your worries, then it s a symptom of an anxiety disorder.

3. Increased heart rate: Usually, under stressful situations the heart may start pounding at a faster rate than normal. But in people with anxiety disorders, the palpitations are noticeably strong and irregular. Read more about 6 symptoms of anxiety you should know

With inputs from IANS

Photo source: Getty images

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