How To Recognise Social Anxiety In Your Child Or Teenager

Social anxiety disorder does not only affect the adult population, it can also affect children and teenagers. A high percentage of adults who suffer from this disorder admit to it actually starting during their childhood and teenage years and remaining with them into adulthood. It is thought that approximately one in one hundred youngsters suffer with social anxiety disorder. Having to deal with the disorder during childhood and teenage years can often be more debilitating than in later years as a grown adult. Youngsters are very susceptible to negative peer pressure and things others may say or think about them. If the disorder is not recognised and treated it will develop deeper and will be more likely to remain with them into their adult years. As a parent it is important to recognise the symptoms of social anxiety disorder in your child or teenager as soon as possible and to seek expert help from your family doctor or paediatrician.

Here are some warning signs to look out for:

  • Avoiding being the centre of attention at all costs
  • Do not like being singled out for praise either at home or school
  • They try to be “invisible” in a classroom situation so they will not be called on to answer a question or speak out in front of the class
  • Do not want to invite friends over or go to someone else’s house for a sleepover or a party
  • Avoid using the telephone
  • Have trouble speaking in public, will often let you order for them at a restaurant rather than speak up and tell the waiter or waitress what they would like
  • Do not make eye contact when someone speaks to them
  • If asked a question they will mumble or give one word answers

You may also notice some physical signs that they are uncomfortable or struggling to cope in a social situation, such as:

  • Sweating
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Sickness or diarrhoea
  • Younger children may cry for no apparent reason

Youngsters who are suffering with this disorder will often be irritable, not get enough sleep, not be able to concentrate on schoolwork etc and so their education may begin to suffer.

If you suspect that your child or teenager may be suffering from social anxiety disorder you first need a correct diagnosis from your doctor or specialist who can then recommend the best course of treatment to help them to deal with and hopefully overcome this crippling disorder. If diagnosed and treated at an early age then they may not have to deal with the disorder as they grow into adulthood.

© Andrew Tudor Jones