[Hyperhidrosis and social anxiety disorder--the same old thing under a different cloak?]

Harefuah. 2014 Oct;153(10):595-9, 624.
[Article in Hebrew]


Hyperhidrosis is a reason for treatment by many specialists in medicine, such as dermatologists, family medicine doctors, surgeons and also psychiatrists. Hyperhidrosis causes considerable distress and disability. Despite the fact that the condition has been known for thousands of years, it is yet unclear whether excessive sweating derives from emotional" activation of the central nervous system, whether the emotional symptoms evolve due to local dysfunction of the sweat glands, or a combination of the two problems. In this article, we will present two conditions: hyperhidrosis and Social Anxiety Disorder, a mental condition with anxiety and avoidanrce in social settings that is frequently accompanied by sweating. We will discuss the similarities and differences between these disorders and the various treatments available for these conditions. Research shows that social anxiety does not explain hyperhidrosis, but that excessive sweating reduces the threshold for social anxiety. Among people with hyperhidrosis, the functional disability and the emotional problems are mediated by the social anxiety. We propose treating the symptoms of hyperhidrosis and social anxiety disorder in combination in order to achieve maximal improvement in these patients.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Hyperhidrosis / physiopathology
  • Hyperhidrosis / psychology
  • Hyperhidrosis / therapy*
  • Phobic Disorders / physiopathology
  • Phobic Disorders / psychology
  • Phobic Disorders / therapy*
  • Sweat Glands / physiopathology