Both Psychodynamic Group Therapy (PGT) and clonazepam are used as treatment strategies in reducing symptoms of generalized social anxiety disorder (GSAD). However, many individuals remain symptomatic after treatment with PGT or clonazepam.
Fifty-eight adult outpatients with a diagnosis of GSAD according to DSM-IV were randomized to 12 weeks PGT plus clonazepam or clonazepam. The Clinical Global Impression-Improvement (CGI-I) Scale was the primary efficacy measure. Secondary efficacy measures included the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS) total score, the World Health Organization Instrument to Assess Quality of Life-Bref (WHOQOL-Bref) Scale and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI).
CGI-I data from 57 patients (intent-to-treat population) showed that patients who received PGT plus clonazepam presented significantly greater improvement than those who received clonazepam (p=0.033). There were no significant differences between the two groups in the secondary efficacy measures.
Our study suggests that the combination of PGT with clonazepam may be a promising strategy for the treatment of GSAD, regarding gains in the global functioning. However the present study failed to detect more specific changes in social anxiety symptomatology between the two groups.
Psychodynamic Group Therapy (PGT) and clonazepam are strategies to reduce symptoms of generalized social anxiety disorder (GSAD). The addition of PGT might lead to changes in defense styles. The objective of this study is to examine changes in defense styles when comparing clonazepam to psychodynamic group therapy plus clonazepam in GSAD during 12 weeks. Fifty-seven patients that met DSM-IV criteria for GSAD participated. social anxiety disorder symptoms were evaluated with the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale, and defense styles with the Defense Style Questionnaire. All defense styles changed overtime for both groups, especially mature defense style, which increased independently of the treatment allocation group. Regression analyses found that overtime there was a reduction in neurotic defenses in the combined group, whereas there was an increase in the clonazepam group. Neurotic defense style can change toward greater adaptiveness with the addition of PGT to clonazepam in GSAD, even in 12 weeks.
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