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Social Anxiety Disorder

Social anxiety disorder, previously called social phobia, is an anxiety disorder characterized by a general intense fear of, or anxiety about, social or performance situations. People with social anxiety disorder worry that actions or behaviors associated with their anxiety will be negatively evaluated by others, leading them to feel embarrassed. This worry often causes people with social anxiety to avoid social situations. Social anxiety disorder can manifest in a range of situations, such as within the workplace or the school environment. Learn more about social anxiety disorder.

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Featured Studies

Featured studies include only those currently recruiting participants. Studies with the most recent start date appear first.

Transdiagnostic Brain-Behavior Profiling to Enhance Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Response

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: July 5, 2017
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Eligibility: Ages 18–65, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Many patients with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and generalized Social Anxiety Disorder (gSAD) are treated with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) but few have meaningful improvement. MDD and gSAD are diseases of brain dysfunction that manifest as impaired emotion regulation; CBT teaches emotion regulation strategies but how it works in the brain remains largely unknown. Individual differences in brain function related to emotion regulation may make some patients better suited for CBT and CBT may remedy the brain dysfunction that underlies these disorders. This project will compare CBT with a placebo psychotherapy (i.e., supportive therapy) in MDD and gSAD to test, validate, and refine brain-based markers and examine mechanisms of change to examine how CBT works and for whom.

Dimensional Brain Behavior Predictors of CBT Outcomes in Pediatric Anxiety

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: December 31, 2016
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Eligibility: Ages 7–17, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Anxiety is among the most prevalent, costly and disabling illnesses and tends emerge early in childhood. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the first-line treatment for early life anxiety, but as many as 40% of young patients who receive CBT fail to get better. The proposed study will examine brain changes marking positive response to CBT for anxiety and how these changes may differ in children compared adolescents. By helping us to understand how CBT works, this study will pave the way for new treatments to stop anxiety early.

Endogenous Opioid Mechanisms for Rejection Sensitivity

Study Type: Observational
Start Date: August 31, 2016
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Eligibility: Ages 18–25, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

This project hypothesizes that the brain's opioid system determines rejection sensitivity, a personality trait that is a vulnerability factor and feature of several psychiatric disorders. This project will use positron emission tomography to measure the brain's opioid response to social rejection and acceptance in a nonclinical population with varying levels of rejection sensitivity. The results will provide the first major step towards understanding a neurotransmitter mechanism for rejection sensitivity, allowing for further investigation into predicting and treating its associated disorders.