Social anxiety seems to be something simple, but can actually become debilitating for the one who is experiencing it. Associated behaviours include fear of being judged, worrying about upcoming social events, behaviours, performances that may be weeks away, avoidance of social situations and not wanting others to know about this issue due to the fear of being judged.
In other words, it is characterized by an intense fear of being judged or humiliated by others, leading to the avoidance behaviours. It is not the same thing as nervousness and it usually starts in teenage years, although can be earlier. Think of the judgments that are real at this age and the fact that the emotional centres of the brain are blooming into their peak. No kid or teen wants to be humiliated in front of their peers, and likely some will have a tendency to develop anxiety, others will develop angry responses, depending on how they perceive that they can protect themselves.
Unfortunately, social anxiety can turn into Social Anxiety Disorder if not dealt at the right time. Although it is certainly not something that can’t be cured, it can make one’s social and personal life very difficult.
The precise cause of social anxiety is unknown. However, present research supports the idea that it is caused by a mixture of environmental factors and genetics.
Negative experiences also may add to this disorder which may become the causes of the development of social anxiety. They include:
- Family conflict
- Sexual abuse
- Low self-confidence
- Not knowing your real value and hence low self-esteem
- Fear of being ridiculed
- Being an introvert
- Past experiences of being bullied/mocked/laughed at/insulted
- Isolation from social exposure for quite a long time
- Language problems or problems in expressing oneself
- Death of or desertion by a love ones
- Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse
- Addictions to or withdrawals from drugs
- Traumatic family conflicts such as violence
- Fear of situations in which you may be judged
- Worrying about embarrassing or humiliating yourself
- Intense fear of interacting or talking with strangers
- Fear that others will notice that you look anxious
Thus, it is important to note that social anxiety develops due to fear of being judged in any way. And one should always analyse the situation if required, discuss with friends and family and try not to escape or show avoidance behaviour.