Social anxiety or social phobia has many varied causes, including biological, psychological and social. However, each one may be intertwined so it is hard to specify exacting ones. Though it is not yet known if social anxiety is caused by a genetic disposition or something learned through family social conditioning, it does appear that it can run in the family.
The first group of causes include environmental and social. It is believed by some social phobia experts that it is possible to learn this from the environment in which you are in. It has been suggested that simply interacting and watching others with similar tendencies can be influential. Also, it is possible that overprotective and controlling parents may develop this in their children and fail to recognize the disorder in them because they too suffer from it and consider it to be perfectly normal.
Others think that people may develop social phobias based on a negative childhood event, including bullying, public embarrassment and teasing. Such indicators include disfigurement, abuse (sexual and physical), neglect, speech impediments or conflicts within a family.
The second group of causes of social anxiety is thought to be due to psychological or emotional trauma experienced in childhood. The subsequent symptoms may be the direct result of unresolved traumatic experiences such as car accidents, abuse, relationship breakdowns, humiliation or even a natural disaster. The key elements of that are common amongst all people suffering anxiety as a result of traumas include an event or experience that was not expected, the person was not prepared for, and there was little if anything that the person could have done to have pretended it from occurring. However, such traumas can also run deeper, including a poor bonding between the major caregiver and the person during childhood. The person may well have not learned the skills needed to regulate calmness, self-soothing and focus during stressful events.
The third social anxiety cause is biological in nature, including biochemical reactions, the structure of the brain and the possibility of the disorder having been inherited genetically. In genetical inheritance, most researchers believe that the main part of the disorder is born out of inhibited behavior. Young babies with such a disposition are quick to show stress and fear of unfamiliar situations and people, and as they grow into teenagers and adults, their risk for getting social phobia increases.
Also, studies have shown that it may also have something do with the section of your brain that controls fears (amygdale). Through CAT scans, doctors have found that people with this disorder have an excess amount of activity in the amygdale and too little in the prefrontal brain cortex. Biochemically speaking, more studies indicate that an imbalance in the serotonin levels in the brain, dopamine, GABA and neurotransmitters may be to blame.
The most common group that social anxiety disorder sufferers fall into is the second. Each and everyday, many people, young and old, experience traumas, some of which they may well put behind them for many years, or at least they believe, but somewhere inside of them, they have not learned to cope with the resulting trauma, but in fact pushed the emotional side ‘under the carpet’ or so to speak. When this happens it is essential to get medical support and treatment. Such traumas as abuse, rape and other experiences can develop from social anxiety to include even post-traumatic shock disorder, which can attack any person at any time in their lives. It may manifest itself many years later, even after the trauma has since been apparently forgotten.
Though there are many cause of social anxiety phobias, the bottom line is that the result is an unnatural fear of social interaction and a lowered self-esteem that can not only hinder a person’s ability to function in everyday situations, but in some cases hinder the person’s ability to simply live a normal existence outside of their home. Sometimes the disorder is so debilitating that the person cannot even carry on regular daytime activities. If you or anyone you suspect may have this disorder, there is no shame in asking for medical help. This does not have to be a lifelong affliction, nor is it normal because someone else you know is dealing with it by pushing it away. Your family doctor is your best source of relief in this regard.