Social phobia is a common disorder associated with significant psychosocial impairment, representing a substantial public health problem largely determined by the high prevalence, and the lifelong chronicity. Social phobia starts in early childhood or adolescence and is often comorbid with depression, other anxiety disorders, alcohol and substance abuse or eating disorders. This: cascade of comorbidity, usually secondary to social phobia, increases the disability associated with the condition. The possibility that social phobia may be a trigger for later developing comorbid disorders directs attention to the need for early effective treatment as a preventive measure. The most recent drug class to he investigated for the psychopharmacological treatment of social phobia is the SSRI group for which there is growing support. The other drugs classes that have been evaluated are monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), benzodiazepines, and beta-blockers, The SSRIs represent a new and attractive therapeutic choice for patients with generalized social phobia. Recently the fil st, large scale, placebo-controlled study to assess the efficacy of drug treatment in generalized social phobia has been completed with paroxetine, Paroxetine was more effective in reducing the symptoms than placebo and was well tolerated. Many now regard SSRIs as the drugs of choice in social phobia because of their effectiveness and because they avoid the problems of treatment with benzodiazepines or classical MAOIs. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Social phobia: diagnosis and epidemiology, neurobiology and pharmacology, comorbidity and treatment / Brunello, Nicoletta; JA den, Boer; Ll, Judd; S., Kasper; Je, Kelsey; M., Lader; Y., Lecrubier; Jp, Lepine; Rb, Lydiard; J., Mendlewicz; Sa, Montgomery; G., Racagni; Mb, Stein; Hu, Wittchen. - In: JOURNAL OF AFFECTIVE DISORDERS. - ISSN 0165-0327. - 60:1(2000), pp. 61-74. [10.1016/S0165-0327(99)00140-8]