Patients with depression are often excluded from studies on the treatment of social anxiety disorder (SAD), leaving gaps in our knowledge about the impact of depressive affect on treatment for SAD. Patients participated in a randomized, placebo-controlled study of treatment for SAD. As in previous studies, patients were excluded from the study if they met criteria for major depressive disorder in the past 6 months. This exclusion notwithstanding, patients who enrolled in the study exhibited a range of depressive symptoms, permitting an examination of the impact of depressive symptoms on treatment outcome for SAD. Assessment measures included the Clinical Global Impression Scale, Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression, Brief Social Phobia Scale, and Beck Depression Inventory. Higher levels of depressive symptoms were related to more severe social anxiety overall, and to less change in social anxiety symptoms over the course of the study. Patients who were deemed nonresponders to treatment had higher levels of depressive symptoms at pretreatment than those who responded. In addition, patients who dropped out of the study had higher levels of depressive symptoms at pretreatment than those who completed the study. These results suggest that modifications should be made to existing treatments to improve outcomes and decrease attrition in the substantial proportion of patients with SAD who also evidence depressive symptoms. Such modifications are likely to be more important when treating patients with SAD and comorbid major depressive disorder.
- Cognitive therapy
- Phobic disorders