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Consensus Statement on Social Anxiety Disorder From the International Consensus Group on Depression and Anxiety

James C. Ballenger, M.D.; Jonathan R. T. Davidson, M.D.; Yves Lecrubier, M.D.; and David J. Nutt, M.D., Ph.D. (International Consensus Group on Depression and Anxiety); and Julio Bobes, M.D., Ph.D.; Deborah C. Beidel, Ph.D.; Yutaka Ono, M.D.; and Herman G. M. Westenberg, Ph.D.

Published: May 21, 1998


Objective: The goal of this consensus statement is to provide primary care clinicians with a better understanding of management issues in social anxiety disorder (social phobia) and guide clinical practice with recommendations for appropriate pharmacotherapy.

Participants: The 4 members of the International Consensus Group on Depression and Anxiety were James C. Ballenger (chair), Jonathan R. T. Davidson, Yves Lecrubier, and David J. Nutt. Other faculty invited by the chair were Julio Bobes, Deborah C. Beidel, Yukata Ono, and Herman G. M. Westenberg. Evidence: The consensus statement is based on the 7 review papers
published in this supplement and on the scientific literature relevant to the issues reviewed in these papers.

Consensus process: The group met over a 2-day period. On day 1, the group discussed each review paper, and the chair identified key issues for further debate. On day 2, the group discussed these issues to arrive at a consensus view. After the group meetings, the consensus statement was drafted by the chair and approved by all attendees.

Conclusions: The consensus statement underlines the importance of recognizing social anxiety disorder and provides recommendations on how it may be distinguished from other anxiety disorders. It proposes definitions for response and remission and considers appropriate management strategies. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are recommended as first-line therapy, and effective treatment should be continued for at least 12 months. Long-term treatment is indicated if symptoms are unresolved, the patient has a comorbid condition or a history of relapse, or there was an early onset of the disorder.

(J Clin Psychiatry 1998;59[suppl 17]:54–60)

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Volume: 59

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