How to handle a child with social anxiety disorder

PROFESSIONAL HIGHLIGHTS. She has been trained in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Disease, Critical Care Medicine, and Anxiety Medicine. In addition, she was also trained in Thoracic Transplantation Medicine and Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension. CERTIFICATIONS Dr. Sarah Edwards is Board Certified in the following: • Internal Medicine • Child Diseases • Critical Medicine • She is also a Diplomate of The American Board of Anxiety Medicine. EDUCATION Postgraduate: • University of Nevada School of Medicine • Residency: Internal Medicine

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 people. you 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’s life.

It is chronic because it does not go away on its own. Only direct cognitive behavior 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 center 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 molded 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 insulating their habits must be positive for them to develop positive behavior and outlook so that they can perceive such behavior. Understanding childhood anxiety is essential especially in children of school-going age. Community and social behavior 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 are common due to anxiety and depression. Because the symptoms primarily involve thoughts and feeling it is called an internalizing disorder.

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 a dog insect or going to the 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 behaviors 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 behavior.

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 Adolescents of Psychiatry recommended that health care providers routinely screen children for behavior and mental health concerns.

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 are 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. Behavior therapy includes child therapy, family therapy, or a combination of both.

For very young children involving parents is the key to the treatment. Cognitive behavior 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 behavioral 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 it’s relatively easy to know whether your child is happy or sad or there is a hopeless feeling in the children. Behavioral 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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