Recent findings indicated structural brain changes after individuals with social anxiety received cognitive behavioral therapy.
“We were able to show that structural changes occur in brain areas linked to self-control and emotion regulation,” study researcher Annette Brühl, PhD, of the University of Zurich, Switzerland, said in a press release. “Psychotherapy normalizes brain changes associated with social anxiety disorder.”
To determine patterns in structural brain changes in social anxiety disorder after CBT, researchers conducted surface-based morphometry, diffusion tension imaging and network-based statistics among 33 individuals diagnosed with social anxiety disorder who received cognitive behavioral group therapy for 10 weeks.
Cortical volume was significantly reduced in the left inferior parietal cortex from baseline to posttreatment.
Surface-based morphometry indicated positive partial correlation between treatment success and reduced cortical volume in the bilateral dorsomedial prefrontal cortex.
There was a significant increase in fractional anisotropy in the bilateral uncinate fasciculus and right inferior longitudinal fasciculus.
Network-based statistics indicated a significant increase in structural connectivity in a frontolimbic network.
Researchers found no partial correlations with treatment success in white matter analyses.
“We found that the [cognitive behavioral group therapy] in our [social anxiety disorder] group is highly effective in reducing symptom severity and has the potential to induce a distinct pattern of structural brain changes in regions that have been associated with [social anxiety disorder] in previous structural and functional neuroimaging studies. We monitored these structural changes with three different MRI modalities and analyzing techniques,” the researchers concluded. – by Amanda Oldt
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.