Free Social Anxiety Research Paper Sample
Psychology: Four Article Assignments
According to Stein & Stein (2008), social anxiety is an anxiety disorder characterized by extreme shyness, social avoidance, and even humiliation in social situations (p. 1115). People who suffer from social anxiety often fear the scrutiny of others in social situations. It is more widespread than previously thought, despite the fact that those opposed to pharmaceutical interventions accuse the psychiatric community of diagnosing the disorder too frequently (Stein & Stein, 2008, p. 1115). Social anxiety has a greater prevalence in the female population than the male population, with a lifetime prevalence of 12.1% versus a 12-month prevalence of 7.1% (Stein & Stein, 2008, p. 1115).
Differential diagnosis, such as the ruling out of schizophrenia, depression, and schizoid personality disorder, as well as normal shyness can be challenging, but the aforementioned psychiatric disorders will present with other symptoms such as psychoticism, and will not exhibit such pronounced anxiety (Stein & Stein, 2008, p. 1118). Social anxiety, as a rule, impairs social functioning, including work and school performance. Successful therapies have included drug therapies (primarily antidepressants, beta blockers, and anti-anxiety medications such as benzodiazepines), but cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has shown longer-lasting treatment success (Stein & Stein, 2008, p. 1121). Comorbidity, especially with bipolar disorder, is high in social anxiety disorder. Often, a history of alcohol and/or drug abuse is found in those diagnosed with social anxiety disorder, in an effort to self-medicate (Stein & Stein, 2008, p. 1118).
This article sheds a great deal of light on social anxiety disorder, especially with respect to its overlap with other illnesses and its prevalence. I did not realize that genomic studies have done such an excellent job of pinpointing the illness's heritability, and predisposing genetic factors. A clinician could use this article to gain a deeper understanding as to how various structures of the brain such as the insula and amygdala play a crucial role in this psychiatric illness.
According to Michelson et al. (2003), Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is "characterized by difficulties sustaining attention and difficulties with impulse control" (p. 112). This study's objective was to study the effects of the drug atomoxetine on adults who have been diagnosed with ADHD. The drug works by inhibiting the presynaptic norepinephrine transporter, but has very little affinity for noradrenergic receptors or for other transporters of neurotransmitters (Michelson et al., 2003, p. 113). In order to study the drug, one large group of subjects was administered the drug while another group was given a placebo -- in a randomized, double-blind trial. Patients with comorbid disorders were excluded from the study, which consisted of study I and study II. This study used a total of 448 subjects. According to these researchers, no other study has used as many subjects, and the study eliminated a lot of confounding effects such as comorbidity, a typical dose-titration design, and a parallel design, as opposed to a crossover design (Michelson et al., 2003, p. 115). The study ultimately found that the drug atomoxetine was significantly more effective than a placebo at relieving symptoms of ADHD , such as depression and impulsivity.
This article was important because, as of this date, it was the largest single drug study testing the efficacy of an ADHD treatment, atomoxetine. Clinicians can derive a lot of information from this study about how atomoxetine works (it works more on the neurotransmitter, norepinephrine than dopamine). Interestingly, impulsivity affects adults differently, according to this study, because the effort that adults use to control impulses results in more anxiety and accompanying depression. I found that this study could help researchers design studies that had little confounding effects, and a sleek, thorough design.
Substance Abuse (Marijuana)
According to Budney et al. (2007), marijuana abuse usually affects relationships, finances, self-esteem, energy levels, productivity levels, as well as sleep and memory. Ther researchers state that about 4.3% of Americans have been dependent on marijuana. They also state that marijuana abuse has increased, especially among the Hispanic population -- for a number of reasons, including environmental and economic factors. Budney et al. (2007) state that programs aimed at those trying to quit smoking marijuana have shown a great deal of success. These programs include motivational enhancement therapy (MET), as well as cognitive-behavioral treatment (CBT) and contingency-management (CM). Family treatment programs have also shown some success (Budney et al., 2007, para. 6). Combined, MET and CBT are even more successful at treating those who want to quit smoking marijuana, but find themselves unable to do so alone (Budney et al., 2007, para. 7). This study extensively analyzes the data attained from other peer-reviewed studies, and agrees that the marijuana withdrawal syndrome is clinically verifiable, with patients exhibiting such symptoms as irritability, reduced appetite, anger, depression, insomnia, and craving. The syndrome does not bear resemblance, however, to the severity of heroin or cocaine withdrawal, however (Budney et al., 2007, para 29-30).
Clinicians who treat marijuana users may find this research valuable insofar as it describes the symptoms of marijuana withdrawal syndrome, and provides treatment options that have demonstrated success in helping patients quit smoking marijuana. I have heard of the marijuana withdrawal syndrome, but I did not know that it was a scientific term. Moreover, I did not know that CBT was used as a tool to help marijuana smoking cessation.
Prescription Medication Abuse
According to Comer et al. (2013), opioid addicts who were buprenorphine-maintained chose money over either morphine or oxycodone in a money vs. drug self-administration experiment, and chose oxycodone over morphine in a drug vs. drug experiment. Furthermore, high doses of each drug were chosen over low doses, and high doses of oxycodone were chosen over high doses of morphine. The data was collected by having subjects click a computer mouse up to 11,550 times over a 40-minute period (Comer et al., 2013, para. 12). Four questionnaires were used to measure the subjects' subjective experiences. Performance effects as well as physiological effects, such as pupil diameter, were also measured. The study used 12 participants. The researchers discovered that a 3:1 potency ratio could not assumed in favor of morphine vs. oxycodone in the subjects of the study. Thus, oxycodone is the drug of choice in opioid-dependent individuals, as the data in the study revealed.
This study is very important, and clinicians may value its conclusions -- that opioid addicts prefer oxycodone over morphine. Prescription drug abuse, especially narcotics such as oxycodone, is a major epidemic in the US. Studies such as the aforementioned show that is the drug of choice among opioid addicts, that they are more motivated to complete repetitive tasks when given the choice of self-administration between a high-dose of morphine versus a high dose of oxycodone. The drug must be used carefully in patients who have a history of drug abuse, especially opioid abuse. As valuable as this study is, I question its ethical basis, due to its use of human subjects. It seems that well-designed rat studies could provide good data as well.
Budney, A. J., Roffman, R., Stephens, R. S., & Walker, D. (2007). Marijuana Dependence and Its Treatment. Addiction Science & Clinical Practice, 4(1), pp. 4–16.
Comer, S. D., Metz, V. E., Cooper, Z. D., Kowalczyk, W. J., Jones, J. D., Sullivan, M. A., Saccone, P. A. (2013). Comparison of a drug versus money and drug versus drug self- administration choice procedure with oxycodone and morphine in opioid addicts. Behavioural Pharmacology, 24(0), pp. 504–516. doi:10.1097/FBP.0b013e328363d1c4
Michelson, D., Adler, L., Spencer, T., Reimherr, F.W., West, S.A., Allen, A.J. . . . Milton, D., (2003). Atomoxetine in adults with ADHD: two randomized, placebo-controlled studies. Biological Psychiatry, 53, pp. 112-120.
Stein, M.B., & Stein, D.J., (2008). Social anxiety disorder. Lancet, 371, pp. 1115-1125.