Thursday, January 3, 2008

Social anxiety disorder - Wise Counsel

Dr. David van Nuys takes the Wisecounsel podcast to a couple of subjects that have appeared before: anxiety and CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and medication. He speaks with Dr. Richard Heimberg, Ph.D., and cannot wait to ask him whether anxiety should be treated with CBT or medication, or both and what would be the merit of each approach.

First thought, anxiety needs to be defined. Anxiety is distress that every body feels normally, but that turns excessive and interferes with the person leading a regular life. There is a Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) which is haunting people who worry excessively, uncontrollably and takes over the sufferer's life. Heimberg doesn't want to engage in the question about treatment for GAD.

His research has been directed more specifically to Social Anxiety Disorder or Social Phobia (old terminology). This disorder is seen with people who excessively worry about how they are perceived, evaluated and judged by others. The effect is, varying to the intensity, that the patient avoids social contact. In this category, he reveals that both CBT and medication have their benefit. Roughly, medication has more of a short term success, but entails a bigger chance of relapse. CBT takes longer to kick in, but ultimately has more persistent success. The situation can require either or both.

Other guests on Wise Counsel were a.o.:
Tony Madrid,
Francine Shapiro,
Amy Baker,
Marsha Linehan,
Deirdre Barrett.


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