Long-term effects of SM into adulthood have not been studied. However, there is some research indicating that untreated cases of social anxiety can develop into other problems including depression, avoidant personality disorder, and substance abuse problems; thus, the notion that people will outgrow SM on their own is a myth. Treatment of SM and social phobia (social anxiety disorder), however, has produced adults that are successful in society. SMA has drawn a few adults from throughout the nation who represent such success stories, including adults who have established careers as teachers and treating professionals and parents who have become strong advocates for their children.
If you have further questions regarding selective mutism, SMA members are encouraged to submit a question to Ask the Expert. In addition, it is advised that parents and professionals seek the help of treating professionals with knowledge of SM and/or related anxiety disorders.