Mental health articles

OF mental health care and mentally ill

Biological factors of social phobia

Research into central biochemical factors associated with social phobia has not been as extensive as that for panic disorder, and many studies provided mixed findings. The most consistent results implicated serotonin in the pathogenesis of social phobia. The most obvious evidence came from treatment with serotoninreducing agents.
However, because many of these drugs also affect other neurotransmitter systems, based on this evidence, the neurobiology of social phobia cannot be narrowed down to a single neurotransmitter system. Other evidence has included challenges with fenfluramine, a serotonin agonist, and brain imaging studies. Based on the large number of symptoms reported by social phobics that are mediated by the sympathetic nervous system and the beneficial effects of beta-blockade on performance anxiety, there is some suggestion that social phobics may have elevated peripheral sympathetic activity. However, socially anxious individuals and controls do not differ in catecholamine response to social stimuli, and infusions of epinephrine do not provoke excessive reports of anxiety in people with social phobia.

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