Expert Rev Neurother 2012 Aug;12(8):993-1008; quiz 1009
Although much has been learned about social anxiety disorder (SAD) in recent decades, many questions and controversies surrounding its diagnosis and treatment have remained. Similar to the state of affairs with other psychiatric disorders, no clear pathophysiology has been identified for SAD, and the question of where to draw the line between shyness, SAD and even avoidant personality disorder continues to be debated. Much of the evidence to date suggests that among persons with SAD, it is under-recognized and undertreated; however, other researchers contend that it may be overdiagnosed in some individuals. Questions also remain as to how best treat these individuals, such as with pharmacotherapy, psychotherapy or a combination of the two. The aim of this review is to provide an overview of the controversies related to the diagnosis and treatment of SAD. In addition, suggestions for future research are provided that could perhaps clarify these remaining questions, such as maximizing treatment efficacy by targeting broader outcomes such as quality of life and addressing common comorbidities that occur with SAD.