The Causes of Social Anxiety Disorder

It is not known for sure how socially anxiety starts but like so many things it is thought to be a mix of nature and nurture. It is virtually impossible to single out one factor that causes social anxiety. It is more likely to be a combination of things, which can vary for different people:

Our DNA: There may be a genetic component to social anxiety. There are higher rates of social anxiety disorder reported in the relatives of people with the condition although anyone can develop Social Anxiety Disorder. It is also possible that family members learn socially anxious ways of thinking from one another.

Our brains: Some studies have found that the amygdala is more active in individuals with social phobia. The amygdala is part of the limbic system and thought to play important roles in the processing of emotion and particularly of anxiety and fear. The qualified success of some medications in helping treat social anxiety disorder (see Medication for Social Anxiety) suggests that an imbalance of the serotonin and dopamine neurotransmitter systems may play a part. But these imbalances could be produced by both an innately more active nervous system and negative life experiences.

Our life experiences: Some people can identify when their social anxiety disorder began and may associate it with a particularly difficult or embarrassing time in their life. Risk factors include having an overly critical, controlling, or protective parent, being bullied or teased as a child, family conflict or sexual abuse. Going through an early traumatic event may have an impact on the development of social anxiety, sometimes years later.

Others may describe themselves as always shy and see their social anxiety disorder as a progression to a point where safety behaviours and avoidance have slowly become more and more limiting. There may also be some “learned” behaviour from parents who are socially anxious themselves or are controlling or overprotective of their children.

Social anxiety disorder typically starts in childhood or adolescence. The average age of onset is early to mid-teens with most people having developed the condition before they reach their twenties although there is a small subgroup of people who develop the condition in later life.

Read more about causes of social anxiety:
Verywellmind – Causes of social anxiety disorder – Causes of social anxiety