Causes of social anxiety disorder

There are several possible causes of social anxiety disorder, including:

  • Genetics: There may be a genetic component to social anxiety disorder. For example, if your parents live with social anxiety disorder, you may have an increased chance of developing the disorder. It is unclear though if this is genetic or if it could be a learned behaviour.
  • Experiences: Having a history of traumatic or upsetting experiences, such as bullying, being publicly embarrassed or humiliated, or other negative events involving interaction with others. Also, the recent Covid-19 pandemic led to an increase in anxiety disorders, more commonly social anxiety disorders.
  • Drug use: Some drugs and substances, such as caffeine or alcohol, may make some people more anxious than others.
  • Health: A long-term painful health condition or disability may make it more likely to develop social anxiety. For example, having a condition such as a physical disability, a facial difference, speech impairment, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
  • Childhood: Shy, timid children, or children who have an overprotective parent, may be more likely to develop social anxiety disorder.

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