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Neuroscience and Psychiatry
August 2015

Serotonin States and Social Anxiety

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of California–San Diego, La Jolla
  • 2Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, University of California–San Diego, La Jolla
  • 3Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, California
  • 4Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, Hatos Center for Neuropharmacology, Los Angeles, California
  • 5Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Hatos Center for Neuropharmacology, Los Angeles, California
  • 6Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, University of California, Los Angeles
JAMA Psychiatry. 2015;72(8):845-847. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.0486

Social anxiety disorder is characterized by fear and avoidance of situations in which an individual believes he or she may be subject to scrutiny and at risk for embarrassment or humiliation. It is the most common of the anxiety disorders, affecting more than 5% of the general population, with an early age at onset that is frequently associated with high rates of depressive comorbidity.1 Social anxiety disorder is frequently treated pharmacologically with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, several of which are approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for this indication. Nonetheless, only 30% to 40% of patients have full and satisfactory responses to these agents.2 Attempts have been made to enable genetic prediction of response to SSRIs in patients with social anxiety disorder,3 but such efforts are still in the early stages and have, to our knowledge, yet to be replicated.

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