Young people with social anxiety disorder are at risk for subsequent depressive disorders

March 14, 2001

Social anxiety disorder (also known as "social phobia") during the teenage years or young adulthood is an important predictor of subsequent depressive disorders; moreover, the presence of both social anxiety disorder and depressive disorder at an early age is associated with a more severe course and character of subsequent depressive illness, according to an article in the March issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry, a member of the JAMA family of journals. Murray B. Stein, M.D., UCSD Department of Psychiatry and the Veterans Administration San Diego Healthcare System, La Jolla, Calif., and colleagues obtained data from a prospective, longitudinal epidemiologic study of 2,548 respondents aged 14-24 years with a 34-50 month follow-up to evaluate the influence of social anxiety disorder at baseline on the risk, course and characteristics of depressive disorders.

The researchers found that at baseline, the prevalence of social anxiety disorder was 7.2 percent. However, the presence of social anxiety disorder in nondepressed persons at the beginning of the study was associated with 3.5 times an increased likelihood of developing depressive disorder during the follow-up period. Having both social anxiety disorder and depressive disorder at baseline was associated with a worse prognosis compared with depressive disorder without comorbid social anxiety disorder at baseline. This is exemplified by the greater likelihood of depressive disorder persistence or recurrence (2.3 times greater likelihood) and attempted suicide (6.1 times greater likelihood).

"Though we caution once again about imparting causality to our findings, they do support the proposal made by numerous investigators that early intervention with socially phobic youth be tested as a primary prevention of depressive illness," the authors conclude. "Furthermore, our results suggest that the union of depression with [social anxiety disorder] (and probably other anxiety disorders as well) in adolescence or early adulthood is a particularly sinister combination that heralds an increased risk for subsequent depressive episode(s) of increased severity, with amplified suicide risk. Given the substantial morbidity and mortality risks associated with adolescent-onset major depressive disorder, serious efforts should be initiated to identify and test treatments for youth who fit this clinical profile (i.e., early-onset anxiety and depressive disorders)."

According to background information cited in the article, social anxiety disorder is a prevalent disorder that typically has a childhood or adolescent onset. It is estimated that 4 percent to 8 percent of adults in the general population suffer from social anxiety disorder in a given year, with even higher rates when lifetime prevalence is considered.
The study was funded by the German Ministry of Research and Technology. (Arch Gen Psychiatry 2001;58:251-256)

University of California - San Diego

Related Depressive Disorder Articles from Brightsurf:

Severity of depressive symptoms among at-risk individuals during COVID-19
The levels of severity of depressive symptoms among at-risk individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK were examined in this study.

Depressive disorders are 'under recognized and under treated' in people with HIV/AIDS
People living with HIV/AIDS are at increased risk of depressive disorders.

Digital intervention reduces depressive symptoms in people living with HIV
New study by Dr. Alicia Hong, Professor at George Mason University's College of Health and Human Services and her colleagues in China tests WeChat social media app intervention with 300 people living with HIV.

Persistent genital arousal disorder -- PAIN Reports® presents update on rare neurological disorder
Imagine living with unwanted sexual arousals, occurring unexpectedly and repeatedly, unrelated to any sexual desire or pleasure.

Teens taking oral contraceptives may be at increased risk for depressive symptoms
In a study published in JAMA Psychiatry, investigators report that there was no association between oral contraceptive use and depressive symptom severity in the entire population they studied (ages 16 through 25).

How were oral contraceptives, concurrent depressive symptoms associated among adolescents, young women?
This observational study examined associations between depressive symptoms and oral contraceptive use in adolescents and young women and how those associations might differ by age.

Even mother's mild depressive symptoms affect the child's emotional well-being
Even mild long-term depressive symptoms among mothers are connected with emotional problems among small children such as hyperactivity, aggressiveness and anxiety.

Searching for the origins of the depressive symptoms in Huntington's disease
About 40% of the affected patients with Huntington's disease -- a neurodegenerative pathology -- show depression symptoms, even in early stages before the apparition of the typical motor symptoms of the disease.

Multiple brain regions moderate and link depressive mood and pain
University of California San Diego School of Medicine research expands and deepens the association between clinical depression and pain, identifying specific regions of the brain that drive, influence and moderate depressive mood and its relationship to perceiving physical pain.

HIV infection increases the risk of death associated with depressive symptoms
In a new study to investigate the relationship among depressive disorders or symptoms, HIV status and mortality, researchers report that symptoms of depression are moderately associated with death among veterans with HIV but not among those without HIV infection.

Read More: Depressive Disorder News and Depressive Disorder Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to