Talk Therapy Works for People with Social Anxiety

| by Alex Groberman

According to a new study, psychotherapy triggers a certain alteration in the brains of people who suffer from social anxiety. Though not really breaking news, this simply reaffirms the idea that it does make sense to go the psychotherapeutic route.

Medication and psychotherapy are commonly used to treat individuals who suffer from social anxiety. Social anxiety, of course, is the disorder where people suffer from an an overwhelming fear of interacting with others.

In this new Canadian study, 25 adults with social anxiety disorder underwent 12 weekly sessions of group cognitive behavior therapy. The purpose of this type of therapy is helping patients deal with, and delve into their incorrect thinking patterns. Then the clinical group patients were compared to two control groups who tested either high or low for symptoms of social anxiety but got no treatment for it.

Everyone who took part in the study underwent a number of electroencephalograms that measured brain electrical interactions.

"Laypeople tend to think that talk therapy is not 'real,' while they associate medications with hard science and physiologic change," lead author Vladimir Miskovic, a McMaster University doctoral candidate, said in a news release from the Association for Psychological Science.

"But at the end of the day, the effectiveness of any program must be mediated by the brain and the nervous system. If the brain does not change, there won't be a change in behavior or emotion."

The results from this study will appear in the coming issue of the journal Psychological Science.

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