Causes Of Social Anxiety Disorder

What are the causes of Social Anxiety Disorder?

Social Anxiety Disorder (also called social phobia) is a form of shyness so extreme that it interfers with your daily life causing you to miss out on opportunities, and to limit what you do because of feeling so anxious.

It's a life inhibiting lonely place to be. You want to connect with people and have relationships but you don't know how to, and doing so makes you feel anxious.

You may feel awkward meeting new people, eating or drinking in public, making eye contact, talking on the telephone or going to parties. You may feel really self conscious to the point where you often feel you are being watched, judged or ridiculed.

It is painful to be socially anxious. It's lonely as well. This is one of the most common anxiety disorders but also one where you can help yourself as long as you know what to do.

The causes of social anxiety disorder are often several factors in combination.


Genetics often has a role as one of the causes of social anxiety disorder. Your genes can make you more susceptible to shyness or social anxiety. Some people are just born with bold personalities and others are more hesitant and reserved. Some have more "relaxed" nervous systems, and others have more sensitive easily "reactive" nerves.

While you cannot do anything about your genes, you can do a great deal to modify how your genetics is expressed. So if you happen to come from a family of shy people and feel that your social anxiety may be inherited, don't give up or becoem discouraged!

There are many people in the world who report starting out painfully shy and move on to become singers, actors, CEOs and other socially confident people.

You will be glad to know that most of what is considered social confidence is learned behavior.

Family Environment

Children naturally copy and model the behavior of those around them - especially their parents! When parents do not socialize often or are nervous about social interaction, it is likely that their children will learn do act in a similar fashion.

Shy parents often have shy children. Parents can unwittingly be one of the causes of social anxiety disorder in their own children.

Socially anxious parents tend to participate less in social functions, and thus provide their children with less exposure to social events.

Children learn how to act in part by mimicking their parents behavior. A child can learn "shy behavior" from watching and listening to their parents.

If you are a parent with social anxiety, you have big reason to work on conquering your own shyness. You can stop the chain of shyness from passing on another generation.

Trauma, Abuse or Bullying

Sometimes a traumatic social incident can be one of the causes of social anxiety disorder or extreme shyness. Children who have endured bullying or abuse tend to be socially anxious. Those who have been bullied tend to wear the invisible scars of this experience for the rest of their lives.

Being shy or socially anxious to begin with may make a person an easy target for bullies.

People who have been bullied often report that they feel scarred for life by this experience, and develop a fear of interacting with other people,and an inability to trust others or form intimate relationships.

Bullying is one of the most common causes of social anxiety disorder.

Abuse by significant others can be a contributing factor to the development of social phobia. If a parent or partner or other individual is physically, emotionally or sexually abusive to you, your sense of self worth and self confidence suffers.

It becomes hard to trust others and in many cases the victim turns the abuse inwards and continually berates themselves with thoughts of self hatred.

As you can imagine, a strong sense of self hatred will do destroy your social confidence.

You Can Learn To Be Socially Confident

You may read about the causes of social anxiety disorder and feel that all the cards are stacked against you. You look at your family and see introverted, eccentric and shy people.

You may feel like there is no hope if your genetics and your family upbringing has destined you to the life of the socially awkward.

On top of that you may have been also bullied or abused or hurt in your life time, which quite naturally would add to the sense of discomfort (or even terror) you have relating to other people.

But no matter who you are, no matter what happened to you - there is a way out of this pain. Social confidence is a learned skill.

There are effective steps you can take to gradually increase your social skills, you comfort level and your interest and appeal regarding social connections.

No matter how many of the common causes of social anxiety disorder you may have "stacked against you", you can become a confident sociable person with good friends.

No matter who you are you can beat social anxiety and have the life you dream of!

Go to the Social Anxiety Disorder Symptoms page

Getting more socially confident just being yourself

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