What Causes Social Anxiety in Young People

Everyone knows it is perfectly natural to feel nervous in certain social situations. For example, when you give a presentation in front of many people or go on a first date, you can get butterflies in your stomach. But social anxiety is something else. It is a serious disorder, also known as social phobia, when the usual social interactions can cause significant fear, anxiety, embarrassment, or self-consciousness. In most cases, people who suffer from this unpleasant condition, fear being analyzed and criticized by others. It might seem thoroughly unnecessary, but they are not able to realize it. Social anxiety is a chronic mental health condition, and it has already affected a large number of young people. When teenagers or adults find it hard to cope with the problem on their own, they can try psychotherapy. If you are in the same situation and looking for help, you can trust a specialist, who will teach you how to gain more confidence, and interact with other people.

Sometimes, the symptoms of social anxiety disorder cannot be recognized easily, as there are people, who are naturally reserved and shy. Being fearful and uncomfortable in social situations does not necessarily mean you suffer from social anxiety. Usually, comfort levels fluctuate depending on your life experience and personality traits. But you must remember, everyday nervousness is one thing, but social anxiety leads to avoidance and fear that interfere with your normal life. Typically, social anxiety begins in the early teenage years, but it can also start in adults or younger children. There is no doubt social anxiety disorder is a serious condition, which can lead to severe depressions and inability to feel happiness. So, those who are affected should not waste any time and look for the right treatment. Behavioral and emotional symptoms include permanent fear of different situations, in which you might be embarrassed, judged, or humiliated, intense fear of talking to strangers, or worrying that your anxiety might be noticed by others. Occasionally, people experience fear of the physical symptoms that might embarrass them such as sweating, blushing, trembling. Others just avoid talking to many people or doing certain things out of embarrassment and fear. But the main question is: What causes all this?

It is believed nobody was born with social anxiety. You might remember events and facts from the early stages of your life, but there is no such gene that is responsible for the occurence of this condition. Some people do have a predisposition toward developing anxiety disorders in general, but it is not all about genetics. In fact, why you have social anxiety has more to do with environment than genetics. In most cases, people cannot understand that even if something is influenced genetically, it does not have to be genetically caused. Furthermore, social anxiety disorder cannot occur unless certain situations, events or circumstances in your environment trigger its development. So, if you experience social anxiety symptoms, you should think carefully what you have been through and whether it could be the main reason for your problem. Teenagers are used to feeling anxiety hits them at once, but you should know you can develop social anxiety over time. Your brain learns what to be afraid of and when to be socially anxious. However, if you start fearing and avoiding normal social situations, because they cause you too much embarrassment, worry or panic, you should see a doctor or mental health professional as soon as possible. You need to start paying more attention to your mental health and stop worrying about others’ opinion. There is nothing shameful about going to psychotherapy, and it does not mean you are loopy or crazy. Nowadays, we live pretty stressful lives, and everyone could use some professional help.

According to extensive research, there is a connection between anxiety disorders and negative parenting styles. When parents tend to criticize their children more, become overcontrolling, not showing affection or overly concerned with everything, it can result in the development of social anxiety. Strict parenting styles are one of the main reasons why more and more young people live in fear and become socially anxious. Adolescents are certainly more fearful and distrustful when being raised in such tense environment. Moreover, their self-confidence and self-esteem might be impacted negatively as well. Unfortunately, parents cannot realize what they are doing is wrong and harmful, and it can cause trouble for the children later in their life. What is the point of being so strict or rigid when your child is suffering in the end? Parents have to learn how to become more supportive and more concerned about their children’s mental health and well-being. Trauma during childhood and extremely stressful events such as physical or emotional abuse, bullying, family conflicts, etc. can also lead to social anxiety issues. Children and teenagers get the idea that the world is an unpredictable and scary place and feel shocked some people are capable of such hurtful behavior. Traumatic experiences do reinforce these ideas and encourage the development of social phobia.

You have no choice but to accept the fact that some people, especially in the early teenage years, are more vulnerable and sensitive than others, and you should treat them the right way. But you must remember, when social anxiety becomes pervasive and persistent and makes social interaction almost impossible, something should be done about it. Social anxiety can emerge from a number of factors such as childhood experiences, genetic predisposition, unusual brain functioning. It is important for people to admit they have a problem and look for help earlier, otherwise this condition can seriously worsen their quality of life. Although it seems immensely hard for people, who develop it, social anxiety is highly responsive to various treatments and its symptoms could be managed effectively. If someone we know is going through social anxiety problems, we should try to be more supportive and surely less judgemental. After all, nobody is insured it will not happen to them. Remember, it is preventable, and if it happens to you, you are strong enough to overcome it.