What is Social Anxiety Disorder?
Social anxiety is also known as Social Phobia. It consists of the fear of being in social or performance situations in which the person worries about humiliation and judgement from others. Children need to have an established capacity for age-appropriate social relationships to assess for whether the anxiety occurs around peers - not just adults. Some examples of worries can include (but are not limited to) how you eat around others, how to talk when answering questions, or how you look when you are embarrassed. A person can also worry that people will judge and reject them if they show anxious symptoms as well. All these concerns can lead to the individual avoiding certain situations. For examples, a high school student with a fear of having shaky hands will avoid eating, drinking, or pointing in the cafeteria or other public places. Some children avoid using the school urinals or toilet in the presents of other students.
How Does it Develop and What is its Life Course?
Typically, the average social anxiety disorder typically develops is 13 years and most individuals develop it between the age of 8 and 15 years. Younger children can develop this as well as older adolescents/young adults (though not as common). It can follow an experience that was deemed humiliating the individuals, such as dropping your tray in the cafeteria, getting bullied, or forgetting your lines in a speech). Without intervention, social anxiety disorder is associated with increased risk of school dropout, unemployment, not finding a life partner, and lower quality of life.
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