Social anxiety disorder has been defined as anxiety owing to a marked and persistent fear of one or more social of performance situations in which the person is exposed to unfamiliar people or to possible scrutiny by others. A 1994 study found social anxiety disorder to be the third most common of psychiatric disorders behind depression and alcoholism. A more recent survey found that 6.8% of people suffered from it in any one year with 12.1% of people suffering from it over the course of their lifetime. Symptoms typically begin in the mid-teens and are more common among women than men. Current treatments for social anxiety disorder involve drugs and psychotherapy. A review of studies into the effectiveness of serotonin specific reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) in treating social anxiety disorder found that they were all more effective than a placebo. The study found that the drugs did not differ in their effectiveness although they all had different side effects and it concluded 'overall, a fair amount of evidence supports the efficacy of escitalopram, fluvoxamine, paroxetine, sertraline and venlafaxine in [treating] social anxiety disorder'.
Hansen, Richard A. ... [et al] - Efficacy and tolerability of second-generation antidepressants in social anxiety disorder International Clinical Psychopharmacology May 2008, 23(3), 170-179