A study was conducted in Paris among primary care physicians as part of a World Health Organization study entitled Psychological Problems in General Health Care. Though social phobia is associated with significant impairment and drug use, the level of problem recognition by general practitioners was low. Social phobia (n=38) was identified as a psychological case in 53% of the patients in whom social phobia was not comorbid with depression, and in 66% when comorbid with depression. This low level of recognition was comparable to that observed for depression where only 66% of the depressed patients (n=121) were recognized as psychological cases. Psychotropic drug use was high: 61% of patients with social phobia had taken at least one psychotropic drug in the last month, compared to only 32% of those without social phobia. This difference was explained by a significant difference in the use of anxiolytics (45.4 versus 12.1%). The use of psychotropic drugs was twice as frequent in patients with social phobia who were depressed than in those not depressed. The results of this study emphasize the crucial need for primary care physician training in the recognition and treatment of mental disorders.
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