Can children have social anxiety disorders?

Dr. Tamar Chansky
Psychology Specialist

The short answer is: yes. Many children may have a shy or what is preferably referred to as a "slow to warm up" temperament, but for children with social anxiety disorder, they don't adjust in social situations, instead they feel more and more anxious. Children with social anxiety will try to avoid social situations such as birthday parties, school plays, or even just raising their hand in class for fear that they will be scrutinized and embarrassed. 

As with all anxiety disorders, we have very effective treatments for children with social anxiety. In cognitive-behavior therapy, children learn how to correct the misperceptions of their "worry brain" and once they understand how unlikely their fears are, they are willing to practice new behaviors such as saying hello, giving a compliment, or raising their hand in class, one small step at a time.

Dr. Charles J. Sophy, MD
Adolescent Medicine Specialist

Yes, children can suffer from anxiety that presents itself in the form of social anxiety.

Children can display their anxiety in many forms and often times in disturbance of sleep, appetite, school performance, and many others ways.

The key is to uncover what the core issue(s) may be to prevent the symptoms.

Small children can show signs of shyness that may later develop into social anxiety disorders. Social phobia may not become apparent until a child hits puberty. People have also been diagnosed with social anxiety disorders as teenagers and adults.

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Dr. Tamar Chansky - What are social anxiety disorders?
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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.