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Social Anxiety Disorder Causes

(Also Known As: Social Anxiety Causes, Anxiety Disorder Causes, Anxiety Causes, Social Phobia Causes, Anxiety Disorders Causes)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

What Causes Social Phobia?

The real cause of social phobia is still a subject of investigation. Like other emotional disorders, social phobia is a complicated issue with various possible contributing factors. 3

Genetic Predisposition

Just as physical traits such as the color of the hair and eyes are hereditary, social phobia is likely genetically inherited as well. It is likely that the child of one or both parents may have inherited shyness which developed into social phobia. This was the conclusion of a research conducted by Jerome Kagan at Harvard University. In his study, 10 – 15% of children who were irritable as an infant grow to become shy, afraid, and behaviorally inhibited as a toddler. When they reach grade school age, they become cautious, quiet, and introverted. The onset of social phobia is more likely to appear in adolescence.

Developmental Factors

Social phobia occurs in different stages of development. Fear of strangers has its onset at seven months. Separation anxiety is quite evident in some children three to five years old up to their kindergarten years. From six to eight years old, the child fears being left alone. Traumatic life events or stress during the early stages of development increases the likelihood of social phobia.

Chemical Imbalances

Individuals suffering from social phobia are likely to have abnormal functions in their anxiety response system. Long term symptoms of social phobia can be triggered by improper balance of chemicals in the brain. Neurotransmitters such as serotonin, gamma-aminobutyric aicd, and norepinephrine secreted in the brain have a direct impact on the way they feel about certain situations.

There are four brain areas which are crucial to our ability to respond to anxiety:

  • The brain stem, which is responsible for cardiovascular and respiratory functions
  • The limbic system, which is responsible for mood and anxiety
  • The prefrontal cortex, which functions for appraisal of risks and danger
  • The motor cortex is the organ for muscle control

Could You Have Social Anxiety Disorder?

Social Anxiety Disorder Topics

Related Conditions

Anxiety Disorder NOS – Irrational Fear, Depression, Anxiety, Phobias
Avoidant Personality Disorder – Pervasive Social Inhibition, Extreme Sensitivity, Feeling of Inadequacy, Avoidance of Social Interaction
Generalized Anxiety Disorder – Irrational Worry, Uncontrollable Fear, Fatigue, Anxiety, Depression
Panic Disorder – Panic Attacks, Anticipatory Attacks, Irrational Fear, Anxiety, Depression