Where is the line between normal shyness and social anxiety disorder for people who feel jittery before a presentation at the board meeting or get a bit anxious thinking about approaching an attractive stranger at a party?
Rhode Island Hospital psychiatry researcher Kristy L. Dalrymple, explores the variances between the two.
Dalrymple discusses the differing beliefs of over, and under diagnosis of social anxiety disorder (SAD) and its treatment options, the journal Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics reported.
SAD is defined as a fear of embarrassment or humiliation in social situations to the point that these situations often are avoided or endured with a significant sense of distress.
"There are many differing opinions about social anxiety disorder and the best treatment," Dalrymple said.
"Should it be treated with medication, behavioural therapy, or both?" Dalrymple posed, according to a Rhode Island statement.
"The significant increase in the prescription of antidepressant medications (which often are used to treat SAD) over the past several years - an increase of 400 percent -- should be considered when determining the best approach. Are we simply medicating, or are we helping patients to truly improve their quality of life?" she said.
"Due to its social and economic impact, it merits further study in order to help researchers and clinicians determine possible causes, and the best treatment. This isn't about overcoming shyness," said Dalrymple.
"This is about helping our patients who suffer from a disorder that prevents them from living a happy and healthy life."