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MayTheForceBeWithYou
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Study Examines Neural Bases of Social Anxiety Disorder
Written by NARSAD on March 16, 2009 - 11:36am
Source: http://www.empowher.com/news/herart...examines-neural-bases-social-anxiety-disorder

Social anxiety disorder is thought to involve emotional hyperactivity, cognitive distortions and ineffective emotion regulation. NARSAD Investigator Turhan Canli of Stony Brook University participated with colleagues at Stanford University in a study of the neural bases of reaction to social and physical threats in relation to severity of social anxiety symptoms.

In the study, reported in the February issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, the participants, 15 adults with social anxiety disorder and 17 healthy controls, were first shown pictures of violent physical events , photos of people being beaten, stabbed or killed. All reacted similarly. Everyone's amygdala, an area of the brain that deals with emotion, was activated, and everyone was able to give themselves messages of reassurance and safety so that, as the MRI showed, they could tap into the cognitive regions of their brain needed to relax.

But when the participants were shown images of a perceived social threat -- such as a photo of an angry face -- the healthy controls were able to dismiss negative feelings whereas the group with social anxiety had a harder time shaking them off.

"The brain areas associated with cognitive controls were recruited more intensively by the healthier adults compared to anxiety patients,� said Philippe Goldin of Stanford, the lead author of the study. �Social phobics are more challenged by social threats. They take them much more personally."

These findings help to elucidate potential neural mechanisms of emotion regulation that might serve as biomarkers for interventions. The researchers are now looking for ways to best help people with social anxiety disorder overcome the anxiety through clinical trials that offer cognitive behavioral therapy or stress reduction training.

(This article was adapted with permission of Stanford University.)

Source: http://www.empowher.com/news/herart...examines-neural-bases-social-anxiety-disorder
 

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This is really interesting, so we have to learn how to "shake off" perceived social threats like the healthy controls do. I wonder what their thought processes are like, or if it just happens on a gut level. I guess, personally, if I perceive a social threat, like an angry person, I worry that I'll be targeted, that I'll draw attention to myself somehow- that if an angry or mean or critical person looked at a lineup of ten people with me in it, they would 9 times out of 10 notice me first/most, like there's something in me especially deserving of and likely to provoke meanness, anger, vindictiveness, criticism, mockery, etc.


I think this ties into the idea that we don't just have negative thoughts about ourselves, but also negative thoughts or biases about what other people are like, that they will single us out, or that they'll perceive us negatively, or be drawn to us more than anyone else as targets.
 

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I'm not surprised. Even stuff on tv shows or books stay with me much longer than they should, events that I find emotionally disturbing stay with me for a long time.
 
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