Social Anxiety in Teens : Causes and Symptoms In 2021

Social anxiety also referred to as social phobia, is the fear of being around people or being in a social setting. People who have social phobia are barely comfortable having simple interactions or conversations with other people. They tend to feel extremely anxious when around people, and they are extremely self-conscious.

social anxiety disorder among U.S. adolescents aged 13-18. An estimated 9.1% of adolescents had social anxiety disorder, and an estimated 1.3% had severe impairment.

The causes of social anxiety in teens can range from family history to inherited traits. There are many causes, but some of the most common are as follows:

Causes and Symptoms of Social Anxiety in Teens

Social Anxiety in TeensPin

1. Environment

The environment a teen is brought up in plays a key role in how they interact with other people. Teens who have had an embarrassing or unpleasant social experience can become anxious in social situations.

Also, there is a strong correlation between and over-controlling or over-protective parents. Teens who have overbearing parents are at a high risk of developing social anxiety.

Another contributing factor is abuse. Physical, mental, or sexual abuse can lead to social anxiety and other emotional and psychological problems.

2. Bullying and Peer Pressure

Bullying is known to cause social anxiety in teens. Whether it is verbal, physical, or both, it can cause the victim to have social anxiety, which may affect the victim’s relationships with other people.  It may also affect how the victim perceives themselves.

According to research, negative peer pressure can lead to the social phobia in teens. Forms of negative peer pressure include bullying, alcohol and drug abuse, stealing, and cheating.

The problem with negative peer pressure is that it can cause social anxiety and other complications such as depression and self-esteem issues. If these issues are left untreated, they can lead to further problems like suicidal thoughts and self-harm.

Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder


Signs of social anxiety disorder can include: 

  • Fear of social situations
  • Fear of being judged or embarrassed
  • Deep apprehension of conversing or interacting with other people, particularly strangers
  • Fear of being the center of attention
  • Feeling self-conscious around other people
  • Avoid social scenes or situations

Physical Symptoms 

  • Heart palpitations
  • Blushing
  • Sweating and trembling
  • Feelings of nausea
  • Awkward body posture

Treating Social Anxiety in Teens

There are many therapies and treatments for social anxiety in teens, which may include taking anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications.

Although anti-depressants are mainly prescribed to people who have chronic depression, they also helpful at treating symptoms associated with social phobia.

Psychotherapy is the primary treatment for social anxiety. Also, referred to as cognitive behavioral therapy, it teaches teens with social anxiety how to think, behave, and react differently to situations. The goal is to help the recovering teen find ways to help them become less apprehensive and anxious.

Most physicians recommend taking medication and joining a support group together with psychotherapy for better results. A teen trying to beat social anxiety should also have as much support as possible if they are to recover fully.


Teens who experience bullying, humiliation, rejection, abuse, or ridicule are likely to suffer from a social anxiety disorder. However, if treated early, this can help prevent complications associated with the disorder that can affect the sufferer’s quality of life.

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