According to The Lancet Psychiatry, people suffering from social anxiety would go for talk therapy than medication, as it appears to be the best option so far. This study also revealed that, talk therapy might be a rival for medication, when it comes to certain mental health disorders. Moreover, the study’s CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) sets to be a gold standard in psychotherapy.
With the help of Cognitive Behavior Therapy, the person’s negative thought pattern would be replaced by the positive and effective ones. Several studies have highlighted the benefits of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) for the treatment of mental disorders. It has been observed that, depression, which seems to be the most prevalent and common mental health disorder today, could also be treated with the talk therapy.
Certainly, 12 to 14% people are suffering from the social anxiety in the United States over their life span, which is also referred as ‘Social Phobia’. the major symptoms of social anxiety includes feeling dis comfortable around people, avoiding social gatherings, shy, trembling, sweating, and sometimes woozy or frightened, feeling embarrassed when talking to others, and the fear that others are judging them. Though, it’s a fact that social anxiety might be the reason of other psychological issues, like general anxiety disorder and depression.
Evan Mayo-Wilson (Study Author) stated in a news release, “Social anxiety is not all about Shyness. People who are suffering from the disorder could experience stern destruction, from avoiding friendships to cutting down promotions at work, which often demands more social interactions. But the good thing revealed from our study is that, social anxiety is treatable. We know, what works best, though we need to enhance way in to psychotherapy for the sufferers.”
Mayo-Wilson and his team from Johns Hopkins University, Oxford University and University College in London have studied the data of around 101 studies including above 13,000 people suffering from severe social anxiety in order to tear apart the most effective treatment. They told, we have prescribed talk therapy to some of the patients, some to medication or some had both medications along with the talk therapy.
It has been observed that, the persons who went for talk therapy had greater improvements in symptoms as compared to those in other two groups. Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) seems to be very effective than other types of therapies such as psychodynamic psychotherapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, mindfulness, and supportive therapy. There were some medications too, which showed improvements in symptoms such as MAOIs, and SSRIs and SNRIs but the ratio is too less as compared to talk therapy.
Surprisingly, talk therapy and the medication didn’t look to provide any specific benefit over one another alone. Especially for depression, this seems to be surprising, because anti-depressants along with the talk therapy give out the best result when used together. Though, it might be due to the fact that there was not much research work done on the combined treatments yet.
In fact the study had some faults, such as small sample size taken for some of the treatments, lack of term follow-up along with some uncertainties concerning control conditions in the studies. No doubt, these problems need to be resolved before moving forward. But, for this study, it seems quite clear that the talk therapy works out best for social anxiety as compared to medication.
The study authors claimed that, the major drawback of anti-depressants is that it works best as long as you keep using it. As you stop the treatment, its effect starts diminishing. In contrast, talk therapy typically have long lasting effects, as the person has learned several ways of tackling with the disorder. For this reason, the study authors believed that, due to the lower risks of side effects, psychological interventions works best and should be preferred over medication for initial treatment.
Furthermore, Mayo-Wilson stated that, “Mental health disorders don’t get much attention as it deserves. Though, to improve it, didn’t mean about getting the health insurance companies to pay for a service, but It’s all about having more talented and experienced psychologists and staff for the treatments. The other thing, we need to enhance the infrastructure in order to cope up with the mental health disorders, he said, as the evidence proved that they should be treated. We also need to start training programs for the clinicians, and the experienced staff who can work with the fresh practitioners.”
We hope that it will become a reality in the near future. No doubt, some work has already been done, some in progress, but slowly.