The importance of accurate diagnosis and appropriate management of social anxiety disorder is highlighted by NICE in new guidance published in June.

It is estimated that around 12% of people are affected b y the condition at some time in their life – about double the estimates for generalised anxiety disorder. Social anxiety disorder can be effectively treated, but recognition can be difficult and the condition is often overlooked or misdiagnosed.

The guideline makes recommendations on identification of affected adults and initial treatment options, including:

  • As a first-line option, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) specifically developed to treat social anxiety disorder (or CBT-based self help for those declining CBT)
  • For patients preferring pharmacological intervention, discuss the reasons for declining psychological interventions and address any concerns
  • Those wishing to proceed with pharmacological intervention should be offered a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) with close monitoring for adverse events.
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