The impact of health care reform on social phobia
Health Care Reform
According to the National Comorbidity Survey, social phobia is the third most frequent psychiatric disorder in the United States. Its lifetime prevalence rate of 13.3% ranks behind only major depressive episode (17.1%) and alcohol dependence (14.1%). As was the case with depression 15 years ago, social phobia has often been trivialized and stigmatized. For example, some with social phobia may be dismissed as having mere "stage fright" or excessive shyness, while, in fact, social phobia is a serious mental illness associated with substantial psychosocial distress, comorbidity, and morbidity. Typical onset of social phobia is in the midteens and often continues throughout an individual's lifetime, leading to severe social and occupational impairment. Several excellent, efficacious treatments are available. Access to these treatments for social phobia may be more difficult in the future due to managed care initiatives and health care reform. Various proposals are now being considered as a part of health care reform that may have significant impact on the diagnosis and treatment of social phobia.