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How to handle a child with social anxiety disorder

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Dr Rati Parwani
Dr Rati Parwani is a Practising Professional BHMS Doctor having experience of 8 years in the medical field. She is a good homeopathic doctor.Her approach towards each and every patient is the utmost professional with high standards of homoeopathic practice. She has nurtured her writing skills and proves it as an asset to her professionalism. She has experience in content writing and likes her writing ethical and scientific-based Her expertise in curing chronic cases of osteoarthritis,, endocrinological disorders, lifestyle disorders, Female health problems such as acne PCOS, uterine fibroids and endometriosis, skin problems such as psoriasis and eczema, GIT troubles, Respiratory issues and other ailments . Her expertise lies in treating chronic cases. Medical Education Bachelor of homoeopathic medicine, bachelor of surgery - BHMS Medicine A+ Padmashree Dr D. Y. Patil Medical College, Hospital and Research Centre, Pune

Social anxiety disorder

Social anxiety disorder is the third largest mental health care problem in the world today. The latest government epidemiology shows 7% of the population has this problem. The chances of developing SAD stands slightly above 13%

Definition Social anxiety is the fear of a social situation that involves interaction with other could say social anxiety is the fear of being negatively judged or evaluated by other people. It is a pervasive disorder and causes anxiety and fear in most areas of a person life. It is chronic because it does not go away on its own. Only direct cognitive behaviour therapy can help. as it can change the brain and help people overcome social anxiety


People with social anxiety are many times shy, quiet, unfriendly. Nervous, aloof, disinterested and inhibited. Paradoxically people with social anxiety want to make friends be included in groups and engaged in social interactions. But having social anxiety prevents people from being able to do so things they want to do. Although people with social anxiety want to be openly friendly and sociable it is a fear that holds them back.

  • Triggering symptoms
  • People with social anxiety usually experience distress when :
  • Being introduced to other people
  • Being teased or criticized
  • Being the centre of attention
  • Being watched or observed while doing something
  • Having to say something formal in public
  • Meeting people in authority
  • Feeling insecure or out of the place of social situations
  • Meeting other people
  • Swallowing writing talking or making mistakes.

Emotional symptoms in children.

The children are at a very tender age to be moulded accordingly to the habits which they develop. It is essential to make them confident at a young age so that they can perceive things more confidently rather than negatively. The aspect of children in insulating their habits must be positive for them to develop positive behaviour and outlook so that they can perceive such behaviour. Understanding childhood anxiety is essential especially in children of school-going age. Community and social behaviour are equally important.

Many children have fears and worries and they may feel sad and hopeless from time to time. Strong fears may occur in toddlers and may often make them feel distressed about the same. The fact of being away from a parent is quite distressing. Although fears and worries are typical in children persistent or extreme forms of fear and sadness is common due to anxiety and depression. Because the symptoms primarily involve thoughts and feeling it is called as internalizing disorders.

When children do not outgrow fears and worries typically in childhood they carry it in adulthood which may interfere with work, play and school and can be diagnosed as an anxiety disorder.

Examples of a different anxiety disorder include:
Separation anxiety: Being afraid when away from parents
Phobias: Having extreme fear about a situation or thing such as dog insect or going to doctor.

Social anxiety: Being afraid of school and other places where there is social anxiety
General anxiety: Having repeated episodes of unexpected intense fear that comes with symptoms like heart pounding or trouble breathing or feeling trouble breathing.

Anxiety may be present as fear or worry which can make children irritable or angry. There could be a physical set of symptoms such as trouble sleeping or physical symptoms such as headache or stomachache or fatigue. Some anxious children keep their worries to themselves

Examples of behaviours often seen in children with depression include

  • Feeling sad hopeless or irritable a lot of time.
  • Not wanting to do or enjoy things.
  • Showing changes in the eating pattern or eating a lot more or less than usual.
  • Showing changes in the pattern of sleep sleeping a lot more or less than normal.
  • Showing changes in energy pattern being tired or sluggish or tense or restless a lot of time.
  • Having a hard time paying attention.
  • Feeling worthless useless or guilty.
  • Showing self-injury and self-destructive behaviour.

Extreme depression can lead your child to think about suicide. Some people may not talk about it helpless or hopeless. Depression might also cause the child to act or be unmotivated causing others not to notice that the child is depressed.

How to help a teenager with social anxiety

The first step of treatment is to talk to the healthcare provider such as the primary healthcare provider. The American Academy of children and Adolescent of Psychiatry recommended that the health care providers routinely screen children for behaviour and mental health concern. Some of the signs and symptoms of depression could be caused by other conditions such as mental trauma. Specific symptoms like having a hard time focusing which can be a sign of ADHD is important to evaluate to get the best diagnosis and treatment. Consultation with a health care provider can help in determining whether the medication should be part of treatment. A mental health professional will be the correct person to guide you and can execute the best plan that works for your child. The school can be included in the treatment plan but the school has no right to diagnose whether your child needs mental help or not. Behaviour therapy includes child therapy, family therapy or a combination of both.

For very young children involving parents is the key to the treatment. Cognitive behaviour treatment is essential to the form of treatment that provides mental help to the child in the long run which is essential as they get older with age. The positive effect of the treatment will be changed in the behavioural condition of the child and the mental and emotional aspect of the child which needs to be given top priority in case the child needs it. Emotionally its relatively easy to know whether your child is happy or sad or there is a hopeless feeling in the children. Behavioural therapy for the child may involve the child if he is being treated for social anxiety disorder and gradually exposing them to fear to help them slowly and gradually and make them more confident


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