Social anxiety is far more complex than simple shyness and can significantly impact all areas of life, even mundane errands like grocery shopping. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), nearly 15 million adults in the US are struggling with social anxiety disorder – an issue that usually starts during adolescence.
What causes social anxiety disorder?
Even though the exact cause of social anxiety disorder is unknown, it’s believed to be a mixture of physical and mental factors. Possible influences are genetic traits, brain chemistry irregularities caused by imbalances in hormones such as serotonin, dopamine or glutamate – all playing an important role in our emotional states – and even environmental elements like stress levels.
Environmental factors may contribute, but only as part of a complex interaction that also involves biological and genetic features, some experts say.
Factors that may contribute include a history of:
- emotional, physical, or other kinds of abuse
- negative interactions with peers
- overcontrolling parenting styles
- having an insecure attachment style
It is simply unknown why anxiety disorders can be genetic, as it could potentially come from either inherited or environmental causes. However, high-stress events have been known to cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which often brings with it social anxieties.
What are the symptoms of social anxiety?
Do you ever sense overwhelmed or scared in a social setting? If so, it could be that you are suffering from social anxiety. The nervousness is commonly marked by blushing, sweating, tremors and eye contact avoidance when conversing with others as well as difficulty speaking clearly. This fear is often rooted within an underlying belief of being misunderstood and judged harshly by those around us.
What is the main cause of social anxiety?
Although researchers are uncertain about the specific cause, many propose that an imbalance in brain chemicals and past experiences – like facing abuse or a controlling parenting style – may be playing a part. Still, research suggests that these cannot solely be held accountable for this issue.
How can I overcome social anxiety?
If you suspect social anxiety disorder, it is essential to reach out for medical help immediately. Treatment includes counseling, medication and a few lifestyle changes – with the most successful results achieved when combining psychotherapy and antidepressants such as SSRIs or SNRIs. Acting swiftly can ensure that issues are kept at bay while giving you back control of your life!
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