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Polygence Scholar2022
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Riya Patel

Moreau Catholic High SchoolClass of 2024Fremont, California



  • "A Prospective Treatment for Selective Mutism through an Analysis of Social Anxiety Disorder" with mentor Lauren (Aug. 5, 2022)

Project Portfolio

A Prospective Treatment for Selective Mutism through an Analysis of Social Anxiety Disorder

Started June 7, 2022

Abstract or project description

Selective mutism (SM) is a rare pediatric anxiety disorder in which a child fails to speak in specific social situations. Due to its classification as a rare disorder that affects less than 1% of the world’s population, research on this disorder is limited, inhibiting available treatment options for SM patients. Thus, it is critical to research more on this relatively unexplored disorder. Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is a prevalent anxiety disorder characterized by the fear, self-consciousness, and embarrassment in social situations in which a person may be judged or evaluated negatively. SM is known to present with other anxiety disorders, primarily SAD. The main treatment for SM is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), followed by pharmacological interventions such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). With limited knowledge of this rare disorder, this paper attempts to suggest a potential novel treatment for SM, serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) which are a common treatment option for SAD. SNRIs are a class of antidepressants used to increase both an individual’s serotonin and norepinephrine levels in the brain. Previous case studies of SM and research on these specific antidepressants used commonly to treat comorbid SAD elucidate the antidepressant’s potential on SM. With its strong usage in the treatment of SAD, SNRIs may also be effective as a treatment for SM, a disorder that has similar clinical presentations and therapeutic approaches to SAD. In conclusion, this review paper calls to attention the lack of research on selective mutism and identifies a novel alternative approach for its effective treatment.