People suffering from the most common social disorders may have a possible cure in sight.
Recent studies done by reviews for talkspaces are firing up internet-based, cognitive-behavioral therapy (ICBT) in the treatment of social anxiety disorder (SAD).
According to the Archives of General Psychiatry , over 12 percent of people diagnosed with a psychological disorder in the world are treated for SAD.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) defines SAD as ” extreme fear of being scrutinized and judged by others in social or performance situations” and typically begins around 13 years of age.
Another study shows that nearly 20 to 40 percent of people displaying symptoms of SAD seek medical or psychological assistance. This low rate is attributed to the disorder’s ability to cause irrational thoughts and fears of judgment from professionals, family or peers.
The internet-based therapy uses two broad psychological concepts as combined treatment: cognitive and behavioral psychology.
Cognitive therapy focuses on modifying the thought process of patients to a more rational perception of self. The cognitive approach is one of the newer areas of psychology.
Behavioral therapy aims to reinforce or reflexively change a person’s behavior similar to the Pavlov’s Dog experiment or Skinner’s schedules of reinforcement . Behavioral psychology tends to focus on observable events as opposed to internal reasoning or biochemical analysis.
The cognitive component of the new therapy applies an online, self-help manual that teaches rational social actions, exercises in social interaction and steps to prevent recurring fears. Patients discuss their progress with a licensed therapist online.
The behavioral component included an eye movement, dot-based exercise that redirects a patient’s attention away from fearful stimuli. The aim is to reduce anxious behavior through a concept known as attention bias, an unrealistic focus on stimuli such as clothes, fear or guilt.
Further research to test the effectiveness of this therapy in a more controlled environment and in larger numbers of patients is ongoing.
If you know someone suffering from symptoms of social anxiety disorder, seek professional help or access resources at the ADAA.