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Does social anxiety find a cure?

Abstract


Recent research suggests that exposure to chemical signals in other people’s sweat can help reduce social anxiety. This study was led by researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, where participants collected sweat from volunteers and used chemical signals in mindfulness therapy for social anxiety patients. The study shows that patients who were exposed to the chemical signals in sweat responded better to the therapy than those who were not.



Sweat can treat social anxiety?


Recently, the term “social cow” has been trending online, and its antonym may be “social anxiety”. Social anxiety is a long-term and overwhelming fear of social situations. Current treatment methods include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and antidepressant medication. However, Researchers are attempt exploring a new method of treating this condition. They have found that chemical signals in sweat can communicate emotional states and may produce corresponding responses in others. Therefore, they are exploring the possibility of combining the use of these chemical signals with mindfulness therapy to better treat social anxiety.


Experimental research and existing issues

In this study, researchers collected sweat from volunteers and extracted chemical signals from it. The researchers then exposed 48 women who suffer from social anxiety to the chemical signals in sweat samples. The patients underwent two days of mindfulness therapy for social anxiety while being exposed to either chemical signals or clean air. The results show that patients who were exposed to chemical signals in sweat responded better to treatment than those who were not exposed.



However, there are some problems in this study. For example, the sample size was small and only involved female participants, so the results cannot be generalized to the entire population. Furthermore, although researchers collected sweat from different emotional states, they still need to explore the effects of chemical signals on the therapy’s effectiveness.



Further exploration for future

As a new method for treating social anxiety, the results of this study require further research and exploration. Here are some ways that may be possible in the future:

1. Expand the sample size: Researchers can recruit more participants, including males and females, to evaluate the effect of chemosignals on treatment outcomes.

2. Investigate the mechanism of chemosignals: Although the study found that chemosignals in sweat can help alleviate social anxiety, the specific mechanism of these signals is still unclear. Further research can reveal how these chemosignals affect emotional states and treatment outcomes.


3. Explore other therapies: While the results of this study are promising, mindfulness therapy and chemosignals may not be suitable for everyone. Therefore, researchers need to explore other methods for treating social anxiety, such as social skills training and psychotherapy.


4. Develop better treatment plans: Combining mindfulness therapy and chemosignals may be a new treatment method, but more research is needed to determine its effectiveness and long-term effects. Researchers need to further develop and improve this treatment plan to provide better treatment options.


 

Reference


The Guardian. (2023, March 26). Exposure to other people's sweat could help reduce social anxiety, study finds. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2023/mar/26/exposure-other peoples-sweat-help-reduce-social-anxiety-study



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