Genetics of social anxiety disorder: a systematic review
Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is a common psychiatric disorder, often associated with avoidant temperament. Research studies have implicated a strong genetic architecture of SAD. We have conducted a systematic review on the genetics of SAD and yielded 66 articles. In general, prior research studies have focused on the serotonin transporter, oxytocin receptor, brain-derived neurotrophic factor and catechol-O-methyltransferase genes. Mixed and inconsistent results have been reported. Additional approaches and phenotypes have also been investigated, including pharmacogenetics of treatment response, imaging genetics and gene-environment interactions. Future directions warrant further international collaborative efforts, deep-phenotyping of clinical characteristics including consistent and reliable measurement-based symptom severity, and larger sample sizes to ensure sufficient power for stratification due to the heterogeneity of this chronic and often debilitating condition.