Optimizing Treatment in Social Phobia: A Review of Treatment Resistance Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • AbstractOver the last 25 years, there has been a rapid expansion of our knowledge base of social phobia (SP). Although there are a number of well-validated treatment modalities, including pharmacotherapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy, significant gaps remain in our ability to achieve full remission in most patients. Despite advances in the neurobiology of SP, the etiology has yet to be determined. Investigations examining potential predictors of response have provided little guidance in selecting an appropriate treatment modality. These gaps in our knowledge have pushed us to examine issues related to treatment resistance. This paper presents a review of the current literature and issues related to treatment-resistant SP, including a discussion of the functional impairment associated with SP, definitions of treatment response and remission, as well as outcome measures that have been used in clinical investigations of SP. In addition, criteria for a standard treatment trial, predictors of treatment response, a review of treatment resistance studies, and potential directions for future research are examined. The most promising strategies to attain remission, will likely involve augmenting selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors with agents such as anticonvulsants, benzodiazepines, and antipsychotics as well as combining pharmacotherapy with cognitive-behavioral therapy. Our current treatment target of simply attaining a response needs to be refocused, so that an asymptomatic state and high end state functioning become the final goal of treatment.

publication date

  • October 2004