Social Phobia - Clinicals, Diagnosis, and Management

Anxiety disorders

Clinicals - History

Fact Explanation
Marked and persistent fear of social or performance situations in which people are exposed to unfamiliar people or possible scrutiny by others. The person thinks he or she will act in a way which will be humiliating or will show anxiety symptoms. Marked and persistent fear of social or performance situations in which people are exposed to unfamiliar people or possible scrutiny by others.
The person thinks he or she will act in a way which will be humiliating or will show anxiety symptoms.
Exposure to social situations almost invariably provoke anxiety. It may take form of a situationally provoked panic attack. Exposure to social situations almost invariably provoke anxiety.
It may take form of a situationally provoked panic attack.
The person recognizes that the fear is excessive and unreasonable . The children having social phobia may not show this. The person recognizes that the fear is excessive and unreasonable .
The children having social phobia may not show this.
The feared social performance situations are avoided. Sometimes these situations are endured with dread. The feared social performance situations are avoided.
Sometimes these situations are endured with dread.
The avoidance, anxious anticipation interferes significantly with person's normal routine. It interferes with occupational functioning and social activities and relationships and the person is markedly distressed about having the phobia. The avoidance, anxious anticipation interferes significantly with person's normal routine.
It interferes with occupational functioning and social activities and relationships and the person is markedly distressed about having the phobia.
In individuals under 18 years duration is at least 6 months. The course of social phobia tends to be chronic, with a long duration of illness and low rates of recovery. In individuals under 18 years duration is at least 6 months.
The course of social phobia tends to be chronic, with a long duration of illness and low rates of recovery.
The fear or avoidance is not due to a direct physiological effects of a substance or a general medical condition and is not better accounted by another mental disorder. Panic disorder, separation anxiety disorder, body dysmorphic disorder, a pervasive developmental disorder, schizoid personality disorder.
Anxiety symptoms are brought about by substance use/abuse (eg, caffeine, amphetamines, marijuana, cocaine) and withdrawal (eg, from alcohol) . And medications with anxiogenic effects (β-adrenergic agonists,theophylline, corticosteroids, thyroid hormone, sympathomimetics,psychostimulants). Hyperthyroidism, Congestive heart failure, Cardiac arrhythmia, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hyperventilation, Pulmonary embolism, Pheochromocytoma, Hyperadrenalism can cause anxiety symptoms.
The fear or avoidance is not due to a direct physiological effects of a substance or a general medical condition and is not better accounted by another mental disorder.
Panic disorder, separation anxiety disorder, body dysmorphic disorder, a pervasive developmental disorder, schizoid personality disorder.
Anxiety symptoms are brought about by substance use/abuse (eg, caffeine, amphetamines, marijuana, cocaine) and withdrawal (eg, from alcohol) . And medications with anxiogenic effects (β-adrenergic agonists,theophylline, corticosteroids, thyroid hormone, sympathomimetics,psychostimulants). Hyperthyroidism, Congestive heart failure, Cardiac arrhythmia, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hyperventilation, Pulmonary embolism, Pheochromocytoma, Hyperadrenalism can cause anxiety symptoms.
If a general medical condition or another mental disorder is present, the fear is unrelated to it. Anxiety symptoms are not exclusively present during the time period of the other mental disorder or the medical condition. If a general medical condition or another mental disorder is present, the fear is unrelated to it.
Anxiety symptoms are not exclusively present during the time period of the other mental disorder or the medical condition.

Clinicals - Examination

Fact Explanation
Cardiovascular examination Symptoms of anxiety are seen in patients with ischemic heart disease and arrhythmia. Therefore a detailed examination of the cardiovascular system should be performed. Possible findings include: tachycardia, irregular pulse, tachypnoea. Cardiovascular examination
Symptoms of anxiety are seen in patients with ischemic heart disease and arrhythmia. Therefore a detailed examination of the cardiovascular system should be performed. Possible findings include: tachycardia, irregular pulse, tachypnoea.
Respiratory examination Hyperventilation is a sign that can be seen in patients with bronchial asthma. Respiratory system examination findings should be normal in anxiety disorders. Respiratory examination
Hyperventilation is a sign that can be seen in patients with bronchial asthma. Respiratory system examination findings should be normal in anxiety disorders.
Mental State Examination: Appearance Patient looks shy, looking downwards, poor eye contact. When talking with strangers,the face looks strained,with furrowed brow. Posture is tensed tremors and sweating may be seen in the hands and the patient is restless. Also exclude co-morbid conditions like depression, where vertical furrows in the brow can be seen. Mental State Examination: Appearance
Patient looks shy, looking downwards, poor eye contact. When talking with strangers,the face looks strained,with furrowed brow. Posture is tensed tremors and sweating may be seen in the hands and the patient is restless. Also exclude co-morbid conditions like depression, where vertical furrows in the brow can be seen.
Mental State Examination: Speech Normal. May speak in a soft voice.May speak slowly if the patient has co morbid depression. Mental State Examination: Speech
Normal. May speak in a soft voice.May speak slowly if the patient has co morbid depression.
Mental State Examination: Mood. Associated symptoms like palpitations, dry mouth, tremor. Mental State Examination: Mood.
Associated symptoms like palpitations, dry mouth, tremor.
Mental State Examination: Thoughts Preoccupation with anxious thoughts and possibility of being publicly embarrassed or scrutinized. Mental State Examination: Thoughts
Preoccupation with anxious thoughts and possibility of being publicly embarrassed or scrutinized.
Mental State Examination: Perception. They do not have any illusions or hallucinations. Mental State Examination: Perception.
They do not have any illusions or hallucinations.
Mental State Examination: Depersonalization/ Derealization Depersonalization can occur during an anxiety attack. The patient will feel detached from their own body, and will experience a sense of 'unreality' about themselves. Mental State Examination: Depersonalization/ Derealization
Depersonalization can occur during an anxiety attack. The patient will feel detached from their own body, and will experience a sense of 'unreality' about themselves.
Mental State Examination: Cognitive function. Normal. Mental State Examination: Cognitive function.
Normal.
Mental State Examination: Insight Insight is preserved. Mental State Examination: Insight
Insight is preserved.

Investigations - Diagnosis

Fact Explanation
ECG and echocardiogram To exclude any underlying cardiac disease. Conditions like arrhythmia and supra ventricular tachycardia. ECG and echocardiogram
To exclude any underlying cardiac disease. Conditions like arrhythmia and supra ventricular tachycardia.
Thyroid Function Tests. TSH and free T4 levels. To exclude thyroid disease giving rise to anxiety episodes. Thyroid Function Tests.
TSH and free T4 levels. To exclude thyroid disease giving rise to anxiety episodes.

Management - Supportive

Fact Explanation
Assess the severity of the phobia and the interference in person's life due to the phobia. Amount of interference of daily life, work , in the relationships and person's occupational, social and academic impairment due to the condition. Assess the severity of the phobia and the interference in person's life due to the phobia.
Amount of interference of daily life, work , in the relationships and person's occupational, social and academic impairment due to the condition.
Identify unhealthy coping mechanisms and advice against them. Use of alcohol to cope with the situation is maladaptive. Identify unhealthy coping mechanisms and advice against them.
Use of alcohol to cope with the situation is maladaptive.
Educate the patient and the family members about the disorder and reassure them. Education of the family members and the patient ensures the support of both parties which is necessary for the continuation of the treatment. Educate the patient and the family members about the disorder and reassure them.
Education of the family members and the patient ensures the support of both parties which is necessary for the continuation of the treatment.
Exclude a co existant depressive disorder Anxiety symptoms can be present in depressive disorder or patients with social phobia can be depressed due to their condition. If depressive symptoms are present, treatment for depression should be started. Exclude a co existant depressive disorder
Anxiety symptoms can be present in depressive disorder or patients with social phobia can be depressed due to their condition. If depressive symptoms are present, treatment for depression should be started.
Improving social skills and public speaking skills. Practicing social skills and public speaking skills. (first without an audience- in front of a mirror-, then with a familiar audience and so on). This improves the confidence of the patient regarding his ability to face the social situations, and reduce the anxiety attached to them. Improving social skills and public speaking skills.
Practicing social skills and public speaking skills. (first without an audience- in front of a mirror-, then with a familiar audience and so on). This improves the confidence of the patient regarding his ability to face the social situations, and reduce the anxiety attached to them.

Management - Specific

Fact Explanation
Self- help methods Encourage the patients to face or get exposed to social situations while using distraction techniques. Self- help methods
Encourage the patients to face or get exposed to social situations while using distraction techniques.
Pharmacological treatment- Antidepressant medication- Selective serotonin re uptake inhibitor- SSRIs(paroxetine, fluvoxamine, sertraline) and Serotonin and norepinephrine re uptake inhibitors -SNRIs -(venlafaxine) First choice in pharmacological treatment.
While taking antidepressants patients should practice exposure to situations that they previously avoided.
Gastrointestinal effects - nausea, vomiting, dyspepsia, constipation, diarrhea. Serious side effects - seizures, hyponatremia, increase suicidal risk in children and adolescents.
Pharmacological treatment- Antidepressant medication- Selective serotonin re uptake inhibitor- SSRIs(paroxetine, fluvoxamine, sertraline) and Serotonin and norepinephrine re uptake inhibitors -SNRIs -(venlafaxine)
First choice in pharmacological treatment.
While taking antidepressants patients should practice exposure to situations that they previously avoided.
Gastrointestinal effects - nausea, vomiting, dyspepsia, constipation, diarrhea. Serious side effects - seizures, hyponatremia, increase suicidal risk in children and adolescents.
Pharmacological treatment- Antidepressant medication -Monoamine oxidase inhibitors- MAOIs Moclobemide is effective, but drug and dietary interactions limit the use.
MAOIs inhibit monoamine oxidase causing accumulation of amine neurotransmitters. Metabolism of indirect acting sympathomimetics inhibited and their action potentiated. Effect of tyramine (mature cheese, pickled herring, fermented soya bean extract) may also be potentiated. And can cause a dangerous rise in the blood pressure. Moclobemide, a reversible MAOI has lesser side effects when compared to irreversible inhibitors (phenelzine, isocarboxazid, tranylcypromine).
Moclobemide should not be given with another antidepressant. No treatment free period is required after it is stopped (due to its short duration of action, but moclobemide should not be started until at least a week after stopping another antidepressants.
Side effects - postural hypotension and dizziness, drowsiness, insomnia, headache, dry mouth, constipation, elevated liver enzymes, agitation and tremors.
Pharmacological treatment- Antidepressant medication -Monoamine oxidase inhibitors- MAOIs
Moclobemide is effective, but drug and dietary interactions limit the use.
MAOIs inhibit monoamine oxidase causing accumulation of amine neurotransmitters. Metabolism of indirect acting sympathomimetics inhibited and their action potentiated. Effect of tyramine (mature cheese, pickled herring, fermented soya bean extract) may also be potentiated. And can cause a dangerous rise in the blood pressure. Moclobemide, a reversible MAOI has lesser side effects when compared to irreversible inhibitors (phenelzine, isocarboxazid, tranylcypromine).
Moclobemide should not be given with another antidepressant. No treatment free period is required after it is stopped (due to its short duration of action, but moclobemide should not be started until at least a week after stopping another antidepressants.
Side effects - postural hypotension and dizziness, drowsiness, insomnia, headache, dry mouth, constipation, elevated liver enzymes, agitation and tremors.
Anxiolytic medication - Benzodiazepine (alprazolam) For immediate short term relief (for important social situations) before the long term treatment has taken effect. If taken regularly dependence may occur.

Adverse effects of benzodiazepines-physiological and psychological dependence, potential fatalities upon withdrawal, impaired cognition and coordination, a potentially lethal overdose when they are mixed with alcohol or opioids, inhibition of memory encoding, which can interfere with the efficacy of concomitant psychotherapy.
Anxiolytic medication - Benzodiazepine (alprazolam)
For immediate short term relief (for important social situations) before the long term treatment has taken effect. If taken regularly dependence may occur.

Adverse effects of benzodiazepines-physiological and psychological dependence, potential fatalities upon withdrawal, impaired cognition and coordination, a potentially lethal overdose when they are mixed with alcohol or opioids, inhibition of memory encoding, which can interfere with the efficacy of concomitant psychotherapy.
Beta adrenergic antagonist - propranolol Used for short term control of tremor, palpitations which are unresponsive to anxiolytic treatment.
Contra-indications- Second- or third-degree heart block, history of asthma or bronchospasm,
Side effects- gastro-intestinal
disturbances, bradycardia, heart failure, hypotension, peripheral vasoconstriction
(exacerbation of intermittent claudication), bronchospasm.
Beta adrenergic antagonist - propranolol
Used for short term control of tremor, palpitations which are unresponsive to anxiolytic treatment.
Contra-indications- Second- or third-degree heart block, history of asthma or bronchospasm,
Side effects- gastro-intestinal
disturbances, bradycardia, heart failure, hypotension, peripheral vasoconstriction
(exacerbation of intermittent claudication), bronchospasm.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) - Relaxation techniques. Consists of exposure to feared situations and introduction of methods to reduce patient's anxiety provoking thoughts.
The goal of treatment is for the patient to develop the ability to recognize, eliminate, and correct his or her dysfunctional assumptions and thoughts in order to to cope more appropriately with various situations.
Relaxation - Relaxation of muscle groups one by one, breathing slowly, clearing mind of anxious thoughts by concentrating on a calming image.
Techniques for changing anxiety provoking conditions - Teach the nature of the normal anxiety response and explain that the symptoms are harmless. and explain hoe the fearfulness and the concerns of the symptoms give rise to a vicious cycle of anxiety. Teach about using distraction techniques to reduce the anxiety.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) - Relaxation techniques.
Consists of exposure to feared situations and introduction of methods to reduce patient's anxiety provoking thoughts.
The goal of treatment is for the patient to develop the ability to recognize, eliminate, and correct his or her dysfunctional assumptions and thoughts in order to to cope more appropriately with various situations.
Relaxation - Relaxation of muscle groups one by one, breathing slowly, clearing mind of anxious thoughts by concentrating on a calming image.
Techniques for changing anxiety provoking conditions - Teach the nature of the normal anxiety response and explain that the symptoms are harmless. and explain hoe the fearfulness and the concerns of the symptoms give rise to a vicious cycle of anxiety. Teach about using distraction techniques to reduce the anxiety.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) -Exposure. Determine the situations that are avoided. arrange the situations in order of the amount of anxiety generated. Persuade patient to face the situation which brings out the least amount of anxiety, and to stay there until the anxiety is declined. And to repeat the exercise until the situation is faced without the anxiety at all. And advice to move up in the list of situations and face the more difficult situations one by one. Problem-solving techniques- Practicing problem-solving strategies to lessen inappropriate approaches to problems and constant worrying. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) -Exposure.
Determine the situations that are avoided. arrange the situations in order of the amount of anxiety generated. Persuade patient to face the situation which brings out the least amount of anxiety, and to stay there until the anxiety is declined. And to repeat the exercise until the situation is faced without the anxiety at all. And advice to move up in the list of situations and face the more difficult situations one by one. Problem-solving techniques- Practicing problem-solving strategies to lessen inappropriate approaches to problems and constant worrying.

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