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Social Phobia

What is it?

Social phobia is a mental health condition where you experience intense and ongoing fear of being judged negatively and/or watched by others.

If you have social phobia, you have anxiety or fear in specific or all social situations.

What causes social phobias in a child?

Researchers and healthcare professionals are still trying to figure out the cause of social phobias. Social phobias can sometimes run in families, but researchers aren’t sure why some family members get it and others don’t. Many parts of your brain are involved with fear and anxiety, so social phobia is a complex condition to study. Researchers are also looking into how stress and environmental factors could contribute to social anxiety.

What are the symptoms of social phobias in a child?

A child with social phobias can have these symptoms during specific types of social situations or they can have them in several or all social


Physical and physiological symptoms of social phobia can include:

  • Blushing, sweating, shaking or feeling your heart race in social situations.
  • Feeling very nervous to the point of feeling nauseated in social situations.
  • Not making much eye contact when interacting with others.
  • Having a stiff body posture when you’re around other people.

Thoughts and behaviors that can be signs of social phobia include:

  • Being very self-conscious in front of other people.
  • Feeling embarrassed or awkward in front of other people.
  • Feeling your mind “go blank” and not knowing what to say to other people.
  • Feeling very afraid or worried that other people will judge you negatively or reject you.
  • Finding it scary and hard to be around other people, especially strangers.
  • Avoiding places where there are people.

Key points about social phobias in children

  • Social Phobias are a type of mental health problem, specifically linked to anxiety. A social phobia shows more in women than in men.
  • The cause of social phobias can be biological, genetical or environmental.
  • Symptoms can be mild, moderate or extreme.
  • A psychological evaluation is needed to determine the cause and social phobia and the symptoms must be present for a long period of time.
  • Treatment includes therapy and medicines.