Cognitive Behavioral Group Therapy for Patients with Co-Existing Social Anxiety Disorder and Substance Use Disorders: A Pilot Study
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Social anxiety disorder (SAD) frequently co-occurs with substance use disorders (SUDs). Although the efficacy of separate cognitive behavioral treatments for each disorder has been widely documented, there is a dearth of studies investigating treatment outcome for patients with co-existing SAD and SUDs. This paper presents preliminary data from a pilot study that investigated whether cognitive behavioral group therapy—modified to explicitly address the link between social anxiety and substance use—could lead to reductions in social anxiety-related symptoms and improvements in affect and unrealistic alcohol expectancies in a sample of 59 patients diagnosed with co-existing SAD and SUDs. Results indicated significant reductions across treatment in social anxiety-related symptoms and negative affect, whereas no changes in positive affect or unrealistic alcohol expectancies were found. The results warrant a randomized controlled trial to explore the specificity of these effects.
KeywordsSocial anxiety disorder Substance use Comorbidity Affect Cognitive behavioral therapy
We would like to thank Drs David Moscovitch and Tara Marshall, along with Jeffrey Yen and Darko Odic for their helpful comments on earlier drafts of the manuscript.
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