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Can shyness increase the risk of developing an anxiety disorder?

Jerome Kagan, a Harvard University psychologist, has found that children who are shy are more likely to develop anxiety. By adolescence, 61% of youngsters who had been inhibited as toddlers had social anxiety (social phobia), compared with just 27% of those who had been uninhibited.

Research points to a possible explanation. Shy people have certain physiological traits, such as a heightened excitability of the amygdala (the brain's "fear center"). In people with certain anxiety disorders, the amygdala also tends to be overly reactive. It could be that a hypersensitive amygdala makes people susceptible to anxiety.
Tamar Chansky
Psychology

Anxiety disorders can be caused by a variety of factors -- and certain personality traits certainly can have a role. In this video, psychologist Dr. Tamar Chansky, who specializes in anxiety, discusses how being bashful can play a role in anxiety.


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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.