When Young People Suffer Social Anxiety Disorder: What Parents Can Do

Albano

Anne Marie Albano, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Clinical Psychology in Psychiatry
Director, Columbia University Clinic for Anxiety and Related Disorders,
Columbia University Medical Center

Social anxiety disorder (SAD), or social phobia, can have a crippling effect on young people. Children who avoid raising their hand or speaking up in school can become tweens who withdraw from extracurricular activities, and then teens who experience isolation and depression. In fact, children with social anxiety disorder are more likely than their peers without SAD to develop depression by age 15 and substance abuse by age 16 or 17.

As they head toward adulthood, young people with social anxiety disorder tend to choose paths that require less involvement with other people, and so cut short a lot of opportunities. Bright, intelligent young people who have yearnings to be lawyers or doctors, but cannot interact with other people, may choose a profession or work that is very solitary; or they might not enter the work force at all.

Understanding that social phobia is a gateway disorder to depression, substance abuse, and lifetime impairment, we must make it a priority to identify it when children are younger. If we can reach children in the early stages of the disorder, we can provide them basic skills to help them manage their feelings and increase their ability to interact with people.

Parents play an important role in identifying and helping children overcome social anxiety. Learning to distinguish a shy child from one with social phobia, and understanding how parents can empower—rather than enable—children with social anxiety will help our children live full, socially rich lives.

Recognizing the “silent disorder”
Social anxiety disorder is sometimes called a silent disorder because it can affect children for years before it is diagnosed. As children grow and mature, they learn how to avoid being the focus of attention at school or home; as a result, their extreme discomfort in social situations can go unnoticed.

Because children with social phobia are generally content and compliant around home, and because parents do not receive reports of misbehavior at school, many families fail to recognize a problem until their child is already withdrawn from activities and peers. By this point, the child may be experiencing extreme isolation and falling behind developmentally and academically.

Sometimes social phobia goes undiagnosed because parents confuse it with shyness. Shyness is a temperament; it is not debilitating the way social anxiety disorder is. A shy child may take longer to warm up to a situation, but they eventually do. Also, a shy child engages with other kids, just at a different level of intensity than their peers. In contrast, children with social phobia will get very upset when they have to interact with people. It is a frightening situation for them, and one they would rather avoid altogether.

Understanding the warning signs
The average age of onset is 13 years, but you can see social phobia as early as 3 and 4 years old. In young children, it may take the form of selective mutism, meaning that the child is afraid to speak in front of other kids, their teachers, or just about anyone outside of the immediate family.

In elementary school, children with social phobia may start to refuse activities and you see kids dropping out of Scouts or baseball. By middle school, they may be avoiding all extracurricular activities and social events. And by high school, they may refuse to go to school and exhibit signs of depression. (Read about SAD in children and adolescents.)

Parents can help prevent social phobia from taking hold by being attuned to warning signs and symptoms. These questions highlight warning signs:

  • Is a child uncomfortable speaking to teachers or peers?
  • Does he or she avoid eye contact, mumble or speak quietly when addressed by other people?
  • Does a child blush or tremble around other people?
  • Does a young child cry or throw a tantrum when confronted with new people?
  • Does a child express worry excessively about doing or saying something “stupid”?
  • Does a child or teen complain of stomachaches and want to stay home from school, field trips or parties?
  • Is he or she withdrawing from activities and wanting to spend more time at home?

If a parent observes these signs, a doctor or mental health professional can help evaluate the child and determine if the disorder is present.

Understand parents’ role
For most young people, social phobia is successfully treated with therapy and sometimes medication. Additional support and accommodations at home can support recovery. For example, we know that some parents unknowingly contribute to a child’s condition by protecting them from situations that cause discomfort. If a teacher says “hello” and asks a child his or her name, the parent may answer: “His name is John. He’s a little shy.”  The parent is stepping in to make the situation less stressful for their child, but a simple act like that can exacerbate the disorder because it does not help the child learn to manage the feelings and anxiety such an interaction invokes.

We need parents to take a look at themselves and how they are helping their child navigate their way into these sorts of everyday social interactions, rather than avoiding or going around them. Parents can be sensitive to the anxiety these situations cause without isolating their children from them. With the help of professionals, parents can learn to be exposure therapists, encouraging and supporting a child through the social situations that cause anxiety. (See how one teen overcame social anxiety disorder with the support of her mother and exposure therapy.)

The important thing to remember about social anxiety disorder is that there are effective ways of turning this around. Anxiety is a natural emotion and we all have the ability to harness it; some kids just need extra help developing those skills. But when they do learn these skills, it is so heartwarming to see how their world opens up and their lives improve. It is what has kept me working in this field for almost 30 years.

Questions

  • What intervention would have helped you as a child in dealing with social anxiety?
  • How can we educate parents about social anxiety disorder so they can help their kids to be diagnosed and treated?
  • What should pediatricians, schools and community institutions do to support parents in knowing about SAD and how to help their kids?

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67 comments
Azelf
Azelf

I cried when I read the bulleted warning signs. Idk I just did. It's the first time I found something that accurately describes me. It's all ridiculous. I haven't talked to my mother about this topic but I did ask what I was like when I was a child. Based on what she said, I'd say this problem gradually worsened as I started to age. I'm making things unnecessarily hard for myself with this ridiculous problem. I don't really feel comfortable going to the doctors to be diagnosed. I wish there was a way to overcome this. Maybe my upcoming exams have taken a toll on me, being emotional is stupid.

MollyQueen
MollyQueen

I'm 16 and i struggle with anxiety. I've been tossed medicine to medicine, so no leave in the pain. I can't go to the movies with out freaking out and puking, my life is limited to my room, school, sometimes friends houses, which makes my stomach upset and i feel gross. I take college prep classes at my school, and bc of my anxiety, It takes everything out of me to get up and present a power point (i have a D). I am always at edge and i feel so restricted, i want and need a silver lining in all of this. I do have a rough past (family problems), but i've done everything to bring myself up and out of all of this dark illiberal restriction of life and happiness. I just want to scream, until i do not feel anymore.

MollyQueen
MollyQueen

I also receive little understandment from my guardians. Its so hard to feel ok, when others don't mock or try to understand. STOP & LISTEN TO YOUR CHILDREN! THEY ARE GOING THROUGH SUCH A BATTLE, DON'T LET THEM FIGHT IN A WAR ALONE.  

Ingrid
Ingrid

Hello my daughter is 16 and I think she is suffering from anxiety not sure she always in her room and don't really like to socialize with people she also tell me when she in school and has a big test that her grade depends on she blanks out and can't focuz well and then fails the test is this a sign of anxiety should I get her help

sophiagl44306
sophiagl44306

I am 13 and school is really a struggle for me. When I am called on I just go blank and my face turns beet red. My friends tease me about how I blush about everything and I feel like no one understands. I am scared to talk to anyone, including my parents, and I am starting to worry. I am stuck. My parents just joke about it too. I can't even talk to a friend I see everyday without having anxiety. I want help but I can't tell anyone.

Dadadamasky175
Dadadamasky175

@sophiagl44306....I'm sorry you are feeling this way, but you are not alone. I promise you that things definitely get better. Start by checking out Social Anxiety websites and blogs. You will quickly discover that turning red and going blank are the body's reaction to false thoughts that are interpreted as real. This is hard to grasp for anybody but especially at your age. Maybe you should speak to your school counselor and then approach your parents with her/his help. And understand that your parents may not take your anxiety serious because they want you to not take it so serious. However, the mind takes time to change, but change it will. Keep me posted.

Help
Help

I'm pretty sure I'm going through this right now. I'm 16 and as much as I want to go to school to get an education, I can't bring myself to go. The mere thought of me going back to school sets my anxiety from 0-100 in an instant and all these thoughts/bad memories fill my head. I hate how I'm spending my teenage years locked inside my bedroom. I've only told my mom but she doesn't really understand what I'm going through, I mean she's a sweet woman but she didn't even know what anxiety was... Luckily she's finally made an appointment with my family doctor, which I'm incredibly nervous about meeting. I had so many plans for the future but I don't even know how I'm suppose to get my life back, or how I'm suppose to make up all the school I've missed in order to graduate with my friends. My life is falling apart and I don't know how I'm going to put it back together.

Fergy26
Fergy26

My 14 year old daughter is experiencing Social SAD, We just moved to Virginia from New Jersey where she had bullying and cyber bullying issues...We are waiting on a therapist visit next week so she can hopefully begin a road to recovery.  I love my daughter more than life itself, however I would get so frustrated with her because I want to help and I had no clue where to begin...thanks to all you folks out there for sharing your stories, experiences and helpful hints...:)  Hopefully through therapy and my being more understanding she will overcome her anxiety...:)

Marg
Marg

I had social anxiety all through middle school and high school. I always had this idea that some day it would get better, and things would be better. I feel like no matter what I do though, I cant get seem to get away from social anxiety. I had this idea when I was younger that one day I would grow out of it, but being 21 years old now, I still suffer from social anxiety. It really helps to have someone you can talk to and feel comfortable around, it's a great feeling when you have a person or even a few people in your life who you don't feel anxiety around, however for the most part when it comes to interacting with people I just feel so abnormal and lost, and it never feels natural. I instantly feel uncomfortable when I'm around people, I wish it was easier to talk to people, and more than that, I wish i felt more comfortable being around people.

KimH711
KimH711

My 14 year old daughter was just diagnosed with SAD and I'm so glad she came to me and her step father to discuss the issues she was experiencing. I, too, suffer from anxiety and panic attacks and I'm currently taking medication to treat mine which is helping a lot. The doctor agreed that she needed to be medicated as well due to the level at which her anxiety has gotten. She has been silently suffering for more than an year so I'm open to the medication route for her at this time. We are both about to start a "mother/daughter" yoga class so we can both learn different way to breath and meditate. I encourage every mother, father, brother, sister, aunt, friend, etc to please pay attention to our young kiddos. I knew something wasn't connecting with my daughter when I noticed the isolation and sudden outbursts of tears. After many conversations and prayer, we found a doctor who was willing to connect and she's someone my daughter felt comfortable talking to. I know the road ahead of us is long, but with the support of her family, school and now her doctor, we'll get through this!  Anxiety is a very scary thing to experience as an adult, I can't imagine having to "deal" with it starting high school. 

JenC2345
JenC2345

Hello,

Glad to have found this information on social anxiety/phobia.  I have a 22 year old son who suffers from this.  Some of the posts sound just like him. It is hard as a parent to know what to do.  I get advice from friends that is really not helpful at all since they cannot imagine what it is like.  One friend who met him twice for 5 minutes told me he doesn't have anything wrong with him, he is just doesn't want to do anything and basically said it is all my fault.  People just don't get it.

If anyone who has suffered from this has any constructive advice for parents it would be helpful.  Finding a psychologist familiar with this disorder has been really difficult.  I had one psychologist who told us as we were leaving that he won't be living at home in 10 yrs, as if to wonder why we are so worried.  That right there made me realize she doesn't get it.  The hard part is he doesn't want to get any help because he doesn't believe it will help. He does not like to talk about this at all.  I've tried setting some goals for him, which he has met some but they are few and far between.  He doesn't work or go to school. He sees one friend once in a while.  He won't go out by himself, except to take a ride around the neighborhood and sometimes the library. 

Thanks,

Concerned Mom

Scaredycat
Scaredycat

I, too feel the same way ma'am. I am an 18 year old girl and socializing with people is really not on the top of my list that I'm good at. I'm scared also that because of this disorder, I may not be able to study well in my school and have bad grades. The same with working.

I just want you to know some of the things that's running through our heads that leads us to become this way

1. I have depression, I'm always sad and lonely. I don't talk to people because they will think that there is something wrong with me or that I'm weird causing them to stay away from me.

2. I'm always overthinking to the point that I don't sleep very well. Sometimes in the night I would sleep for example at 11:00 pm but I would soon be awake at 1:00 because I can feel my heart beat fast because of nervousness to go to school.

3. Because of depression, I have thought of suicide

4. I find it hard to approach people. My parents always tell me to not to be stupid and just talk to people but they can't see and I cant explain to them that it is not easy.

5. I cry most of the time when I'm alone

6. I have many problems that it feels like they're eating me piece by piece until I give up.

Your son is very lucky to have an understanding mom like you and I suggest that you don't give up on him because deep inside he is really calling for help and I think that he doesn't want to talk about it maybe because he himself doesn't accept the fact that something is wrong with him and needs help.

Dadadamasky175
Dadadamasky175

Hi Scaredcat, I'm sorry you feel this way, but I can promise you that things do get better. I'm a 52yo father who has had some success dealing with people professionally and socially. But many years ago , I experienced the same thing you are going through now. Even now I still experience SAD but with way less frequency and severity. I have researched this subject for many years and have found some things that help a little and some things not at all. But the one thing that has helped me tremendously is learning how the mind actually works. In a nutshell , your thoughts are not real. The mind convinces us that our thoughts are real and we should listen so we will be safe. However, the truth is still that our thoughts are not real. The mind is not our enemy, it just thinks that by keeping us away from people keeps us safe. How did it get this bad info? Maybe genetics, maybe bad early experiences, maybe just wrong thoughts that become habitual negative thinking! You seem like a smart girl, so do your homework and discover what neurophysicist and quantum physicist say a thought actually is( check out Neuroplasticity). Second, sometimes being introverted is not so bad and usually shows a sign of deep thinking( check out the book "Quiet"). Most of all, start becoming aware that your endless repetitive thoughts are not real.

fantomknowledge
fantomknowledge

He's pretty much screwed. I'm in my forties and just lucked into my job. Outside of that, I have nothing else in my life. I curse my parents for bringing me into this world.

Dadadamasky175
Dadadamasky175

Glad to hear you're progressing. Just keep in mind that it's a work in progress and don't judge yourself too harshly when your mind falsely tells you ,"you failed". Btw, meditation can be a great tool to bring about more awareness of overthinking and falsely supplying the thoughts of others.

Fergy26
Fergy26

@Scaredycat 

Good Morning,

I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your inner most thoughts and I think your a brave soul for educating parents such as myself about this issue...God Bless you and best wishes for your recovery...:)

Scaredycat
Scaredycat

Thank you for your thoughtful comment sir. I like the part when you said that "our thoughts are not real." Which i think is very accurate.

I'm glad to say that I am now progressing to be better and try to boost my confidence especially now that I'm in my college year. It seems that the more I try and i mean really try to be communicative to others, the more that I am becoming confident with myself. Though sometimes those "thoughts" still come to haunt me. I still cant say that I'm over with having SAD. But now, I think I'm doing great.

And I still want to be involved in this thread so that I can share my experiences to other people having the same problem and to learn from them as well. :)

HELP
HELP

Hello all, I'm 14 years old and I can't figure out what my psychological problem is. I researched about social anxiety the symptoms seem to somewhat fit me, yes I get anxious when talking to adults specifically, but I don't exactly have a "phobia" of interaction, I just hate interaction thats my problem. If I meet someone new I can either be really charismatic if they're just like me (which never happens lol) and I'm very very very frightened of running into someone from school in a public place which is the reason I NEVER go out, and I mean never. Literally, I hate the malls, I hate the cinemas, I hate restaurants, I hate parks, I hate everything that isn't my house. The reason is because I've been verbally and psychologically roughly abused by my classmates all years round, as I recall ever since 1st grade. So because of that I really hate people. I use kids from school only to hang out with so I can avoid bullies. No one from school or In real life interests me at all, that's why all my friends are online. I had severe OCD when I was 12 that kept me up at night sometimes, but gladly it's gone now. My parents also verbally abused me as a child and till now they get angry because I never hang out with my "friends" and I'm always at home as if im a shut in. They wouldn't take me to a psychologist because they're not financially stable enough (Theyre very costly here) and they think I'm crazy if I see one. Shockingly enough I'd rather have adult friends but the whole idea of friends just doesn't make sense to me, I feel like the lack of human interaction caused me to be a bit cold and emotionless at times, whenever I think of school I get a bit sweaty. I run away from all my problems. Even my shut in friends get mad at me when I tell them I don't want to hang out. Im yelled at and scolded in P.E because I don't participate and once told the coach that I really hate PE and would rather not participate which did not end up well. I'm always misunderstood, I don't get panic attacks and I'm somewhat anxious in social places. Not that I go to any besides school. I get infuriated when I have to go out and talk. Not scared, angry. I can't figure out if this is some other disorder mixed with social anxiety? (lol) I was also very violent when I was a kid (ages 3-8) I used to abuse animals and hit my older sister by pinching and pushing her. I used to cry at school. What's my problem? I hate the way I am and never find people as disgracefully socially inactive ?? help?

Fergy26
Fergy26

@HELP 

Good Morning,  I am a parent of a 14 year with social anxiety so I feel your pain...I don't have all the answers but I just wanted to suggest that you speak to a school councilor or possibly your local priest, rabbi?  You should not have to face the issues you described alone...please don't hesitate, seek help through the person(s) I described or search for other avenues on line, so you can get professional help to assist you on the road to recovery...Best wishes and God Bless you...:)

B
B

I'm honestly crying right now, this article's so accurate, it's basically describing my life. I'm about to turn fifteen and I'm afraid to talk to anyone outside of my family and immediate friends. I wake up terrified of going to school where I have to be around people who might notice me, or have a teacher call on me. At lunch I put my trash in my lunchbox and throw it away at home because I'm terrified someone will see me walking to the garbage can. I can't go to stores because I'm scared of having to check my purchases out with a cashier and I can't go to any other restaurant besides the diner down the street and I order the same thing ever time because I'm scared of having to order something else from the waiter. I'm basically incapable of talking to anyone but the very few people I'm close to, when people try to talk to me my mind goes blank and I feel like I'm going to throw up and I just stare at them like an idiot until they get uncomfortable and leave me alone. Until recently, I stayed holed up in my room by myself all day because it's so much better not to be around people. I would only come out if I had dance, which is the one and only extracurricular I do because I've been doing it basically since birth. I chose to hang out today to hang out with a friend instead of staying in my room all day, which sadly is an accomplishment for me, a milestone even. I fake illness all the time for my parents because it's easier to stay home and make up school work than have to be around people. Although not recently, I've even contemplated ending my life because worrying about every little thing every second of the day is exhausting. The first time I thought about this, I freaked out and finally told my mom. She knows that anxiety and depression run deep in my family, especially having a separate type of anxiety herself. For a few months, I went to therapy, which is how I've made the accomplishment of getting closer friends. However after a while, we got lazy and stopped going to appointments. About a month or so later, I begged her not to make me go to school one day because I felt like I just couldn't handle being around people, to which she responded, "I thought we were over this." Like my life wasn't constantly full of irrational fear, from sunrise to sunset. Like it was easily 'currable', just a few months of talking to someone and duh, my life was completely changed. Just because it was getting better didn't mean it was gone. It was like she didn't understand how crippling this all was, even though I'd explain all of this to her. To thjs day, her words make me cry (if you hadn't noticed I'm pretty emotional). I don't know what to do, I don't know who to turn to, I'm tired of living like this and if there's a way to 'cure' this, a pill, something, I'd take it but my mom seems to have barely registered this as an actual thing and my dad is terrible with emotion and is one of those people who doesn't understand mental illness. I'm not suicidal or anything anymore but I just feel so sad and alone and needed to rant. Thank you if actually read all of this.

T
T

@B I read this and felt the need to respond. You're about to turn 15? I don't really have any advice or anything, but I just wanted to say that how you acknowledged your thoughts about what you were going through by telling you your mom makes me look up to you in so many ways. I'm 17, going into my last year of high school and I've been dealing with the same thing you described (which I might add makes me feel less alone) for a very long time and I haven't gathered the courage to ask my parents for help; how did you do that? It's been getting so bad, to the point where I thought to myself, "I need professional help," because my thoughts are so bad. And then not to mention the anxiety. Every day for the past four years of high school, I get an anxiety attack because I don't want to be there as well as the thought of going to a job interview. It's just so draining. But, I'm really thankful that you shared your story. Just know you're not alone, you made me realize that, so thank you.

Luke
Luke

I never post things online but I use the Internet for anxiety related questions. I came across the comments of the 2 young teens. PLEASE READ THIS....anxiety and depression run in my family. I am a 49 year old father with a 17 year old daughter. My father gave me this and I never knew what was wrong with me until I was married and close to 30 years old. Finally I got on medication and it changed my life. My daughter and I have been able to talk about it for years. When she turned 14 or 15, I started seeing signs that she had anxiety. We went to a counselor and eventually we chose to have her start medication. In her case, it has been the best course.

Please do not feel like you need to suffer. Life is too short and there are so many medications for those who WANT to address it. I wish I would not have lived for 30 years wondering what was wrong with me. Thanks!

Shy girl
Shy girl

Hi I'm so sorry that your going through this. I'm 15, and I think I might have some sort of anxiety problem myself. Because I pretty much have no friends, I'm shy, and I hate social situations. I hope that you can get through this and get better in time. I'm sorry that I don't have any real helpful advice for you. Try joining some clubs at school, and maybe talking to your school counselor. I don't really like going to school myself though.

KR
KR

@B Hello - I am a parent and I'm sorry your going through this alone. From a parents side, I really wanted my kids to come to me, but they couldn't.  I kind of think I've failed them by not seeing all the signs until they were in high school. 

I'm not sure if this can help. If you're not sure where to start or who to ask.  Can you talk with a counselor at school?   Where my kids went to high school there were counselors who talked to them and are there for the parents too.  They were able to give us information and people we could talk to. 

If not at school, if you belong to a church and go to Sunday school, the teachers are usually there to help in anyway!  A friends parent could possibly help. There might be medication to take but you would have to see a doctor, of course! 

 Yes, situations like this usually takes more than a few months of therapy to work itself out.  If your doctor scheduled appointments and you didn't make them, then you should try to get back into therapy.  When your doctor thinks you are ready to do it on your own, then they will not schedule anymore appointments. 

Good luck and take care! 

MryNDC
MryNDC

Hi! I dont really understand it myself but...
When I was 7 - 8 years of age, I started to isolate myself cause I had done something wrong to my family.

Since then, I never joined family meetings with my cousins, aunties, etc.
I had always stayed inside my room alone and whenever my mom asked me why I don't talk to them, I always reply to her that I don't have anything to talk about with them.
That was also the time when I kept on changing schools.
Ummm.... I changed schools 5 times till highschool

I did stay in a school for 4 years but I was always separated from my friends cause I was always attending a different class.
I grew quieter and more timid but I had always tried hard to make friends even though, I never considered them as "true" friends cause somehow I don't feel comfortable and everything feels forced.

Right now, I am 17 years old. I will attend the best college in my country but my anxiety keeps on getting worse.
I am still not talking to my cousins, aunties, etc. properly.
I dont like going out and commuting cause I am scared.
I had a fight with my friend (my fault) and I can't confront her properly even if she's trying to fix our relationship.
I can't even make eye contact with my parents properly cause I am anxious. 
Thoughts like "talking to other people is a bother " and "people are scary" keep on appearing in my mind.
I can't concentrate in my studies for an hour. 
I love to draw but I stopped cause I was not confident and I was afraid of what other people thought.

I can't hold a proper conversation with other people not my age except for my parents and my brothers.
I don't care if I get fat or what.
I can't even convey what I want to say.
Whenever I go to church, I feel that everyone around me notices me even though I know that that's not true. I don't like to got to parties cause I know I will not enjoy it.
I hate presentations and I tend to over prepare cause I can't talk impromptu.  I have extreme stage fright.
I can't think properly in front of other people and I always make mistakes but if I am alone, I can do things properly.
I am not organized. I tend to forget things. I also give up easily cause I AM VERY PESSIMISTIC.
I told my mom that maybe I have social anxiety disorder but she told me that these things are normal.

Since these things are happening to me, I always think of things for other people not to notice me like lowering my voice.  Is this considered social anxiety disorder?

Thank you for reading~

Scaredycat
Scaredycat

This is so what I'm feeling all the time. Just like you, I am also attending one of the best schools in my country and I kept thinking that maybe I don't really fit in that school because students there are supposed to be smart and confident. But I'm neither of those. I'm afraid to talk to people. Im afraid to approach them. I don't know how to make friends. A small part of my brain keeps telling me things like "you're so stupid", "everyone thinks you're weird", "you're always bothering people, or "something's definitely wrong with you" which makes my social anxiety worse to the point that I just want to stay at home with my family.

When I wake up for school, I cry because I'm nervous and I don't want to leave my house but I try to convince myself that this day will be over soon or "it's just a normal day, you can do it" things like that. Sometimes, I will cheer up just thinking that but mostly not.

I have many friends but no one I consider as a best friend really because I can't talk to them about this part of me. I'm afraid they'll just find me weird and leave me. But I'm still hoping to meet someone that will understand my situation.

Everyday I pray that my social phobia will lessen and hopefully be gone as time flies.

MryNDC
MryNDC

@Scaredycat Gosh. That is exactly what I am feeling right now! Everyday, I look at myself on a mirror and repeatedly say "I can do this. I am strong. It will all be better." Sometimes, I want to cry too but I try not to.

Actually, I feel like my stage fright is getting worse. There was this time when my prof asked us to introduce ourselves. I was the last but still, I was really nervous.  I tried not to make my anxiety obvious but in the end, ugh, my prof told me to "Relax". It was really embarrassing.

I seriously envy those people who can make a conversation easily to other people. I always wonder how they do that naturally. 

Anyway, Good luck to both of us :) I hope things will someday get better.

Scaredycat
Scaredycat

Yeah I hope so too! :)

I also hope that people will draw more attention to this type of disorder so that people will know the difference between shyness and social anxiety and so that we won't be easily judged.

JJ
JJ

God bless you dear.  You keep your chin up and keep trying.  I can tell you are very intelligent.  I hope you will realize your worth is great and you are more "NORMAL" than you think! Stay strong!

alexei16
alexei16

My child suffers from this and has missed a significant amount of school because of it.  He is in 4th grade, and his teacher will often make comments about his absence when he returns to school, which singles him out, increases his anxiety, and makes it more difficult than it normally is to get him to school the next day.  I have tried talking to the teacher and principal about this, and i get attitude.  His teacher told me that the kids don't even want to be freinds with him anymore because he never comes to school.  He completes all of his assignments that are sent home and according to his grades, he has a's and b's, but the school is telling me that he is failing becasue of missed days.  How can they do this?  If he had a heart issue or some other medical issue, I don't think i would have this much of a struggle.  He becomes physically ill more than the average kid becasue of his anxiety.  This is a physical issue.  He has a psychiatrist and has been on meds for 2 years (which is great because now i can at least get him to family functions, still with a fight though).

fantomknowledge
fantomknowledge

He will curse you one day for bringing him into this world.

TheAnxietyLife
TheAnxietyLife

I'm 15 and struggle with both anxiety and depression. My question is, how do you talk to your parents about getting help? And how do you "convince" them about your disorders?

RedRoses58
RedRoses58

@TheAnxietyLife --My daughter would pull up information and show me but it was difficult for "ME" to face the fact that both of my children was dealing with this.  You should be able to sit down with your parents, tell them don't blame themselves(I did) but you want and need help to combat this.  If necessary when you go to your doctor, pull your mom inside the room, and ask if the both of you can talk about this in front of the doctor.  You can beat this................there are so many factors that cause this, just keep moving forward .......the depression is there because you feel that there is no way out of this...but there is!

Keeplearning
Keeplearning

@TheAnxietyLife I am a parent and I would love my teen to ask me for help.  He doesn't want it...would, for now, rather stay in his cocoon.  Any advice?  Are there groups on-line for kids to talk with each other about this part of their lives?

Monkeysarefun19
Monkeysarefun19

I have parents that are loud at night or early morning (if you can pick up on that) and I don't know what to do. Three times they have woken me up and I don't know what to do, and I go into panic and can't move

TheAnxietyLife
TheAnxietyLife

I honestly thought that I was the only one that does that... it's almost like your paralyzed.

LIvelystone
LIvelystone

I believe my son has some kind of anxiety disorder and I'm not sure how to help him. My son, who is 24 now, has always had a tendency to be quiet growing up, but he did have friends at school and still has some that he keeps in contact via social media, etc. However in his 2nd year of college he seemed to take turn for the worse and in the second half of his third year he had to drop out of college due to extreme anxiety. Now he is to the point where he can't work up the nerve to apply for a job and almost hardly ever get out of the house except for limited shopping, going to church and meeting with his friends every one in awhile. He literally gets fearful if he has to get out of his comfort zone and tells me he's not happy the way he is, in fact said he hates himself, but he doesn't know what to do about it and won't agree to go to the doctor. He did go to his doctor once for anxiety during college and he gave him a prescription, I'm not sure what it was, and I thought it was a help for a few days but nothing seemed to change in the long haul. I'm not sure if that's because of the medication or because he quit taking it because he said it was useless. Anyway any suggestions about support groups or material to help me help himself would be appreciated.

DBSAChapters
DBSAChapters

@LIvelystone As mentioned in a reply to an earlier comment: Some of the DBSA chapters have young adult support groups. You can find local chapters near you by going to: www.DBSAlliance.org/FindSupport. DBSA will also be launching a Young Adults webpage on our site soon where members of our Young Adult Council will be responding to questions and doing podcasts with other young adults. We hope this will help address specific issues facing young adults as well as help them feel more connected to others of the same age going through similar things.

ConcernedCitizen79
ConcernedCitizen79

@LIvelystone  In my personal experience, I've found psychotherapy in conjunction with medication to work the best on my anxiety. The medication can take the edge off, but the real work is done in talk therapy. Maybe if he can think of the talk therapy as something along the lines of job preparedness it would help him feel less strange about it? Not all talk therapy is the same and he may have an incorrect thought about how it would be. There are lots of different counselors out there. Hopefully he can quickly find one he feels comfortable with.

GJ
GJ

I had it start at 15 to 16... mainly 16. Lasted all the way through my 20's as well. I fought hard to beat it... the result was I would spend my breaks in sixth-form in the park on my own... in fact as soon as the lesson was finished, I would leave and head off site as quickly as possible.  by 17 it was really bad and i found it hard to look up... as i thought people were looking at me. I couldn't perform in an interview.. so didn't get part time jobs I wanted whilst I was studying. 


I went to uni to study physics, but still had the condition and avoided lectures. I forced myself to do all the things that I thought would pull me out of it.. like moving 100's of miles to goto uni. clubbing... etc. But that massively improved things... it didn't get rid of it at all... it meant although I was interacting with people, they were forced interactions and felt uncomfortable! I couldn't interact with people properly... normally. I was a target for bullies. I lost social skills due to isolation in my teens. 


As I've got older and experienced more things, I've more recently improved further. But even now, inside I feel uncomfortable and I can usually see that discomfort spread to someone I'm interacting with. I still find it hard to keep the flow of a convocation going with people I don't know very well. That can be a huge barrier to dating and it was! Women judge a guy on how he handles himself! You don't stand much of a chance in dating with social anxiety as a man. It's an important point not raised in the article... women judge a man on his social capabilities. That was something I didn't understand when I was young... and I didn't appreciate that these very strong barriers just didn't exist for other people.  


It's completely held me back from the moment it developed. If they can pick it up early in young people... they should. It becomes a disorder as soon as it seriously interferes with normal life...  it is a disorder and I think its irrational to moan about the label.   Its like me saying to someone who has a nervous twitch so bad they cant drive... "well, moving your body is perfectly normal part of being human.. we wont treat or label you, therefore" 


If someone has it, it can completely destroy their potential to develop. 

dragonfly95
dragonfly95

My 19 year old son was diagnosed with social anxiety and depression. His condition is so bad that he cannot work and only attends part time college. He is afraid to go out but also is extremely lonely because he has no friends. I wonder if we could get some of these young people with these issues together that maybe they can support and help each other. I've tried to find support groups in my area for young adults but have been unsuccessful. Anyone know how to find groups like this or even know if there are any out there? I am a very worried mother.

DBSAChapters
DBSAChapters

@dragonfly95  Some of the DBSA chapters have young adult support groups. You can find local chapters near you by going to: www.DBSAlliance.org/FindSupport. DBSA will also be launching a Young Adults webpage on our site soon where members of our Young Adult Council will be responding to questions and doing podcasts with other young adults. We hope this will help address specific issues facing young adults as well as help them feel more connected to others of the same age going through similar things.

dragonfly95
dragonfly95

Thank you but unfortunately there isn't one in the Phoenix area.

hhhhccc
hhhhccc

My son is 15 and suffers with social anxiety and he also has no friends. He,s just changed schools which is even worse. He is such a worry. He spends all his time on the computer. I struggle to get hin to go to school.

DBSA
DBSA

@hhhhccc Some parents have also found our Balanced Mind Parent Network (a program of DBSA) to be helpful. This program helps to guide families raising children with mood disorders to the answers, support, and stability that they seek. You can learn more by going to: http://www.thebalancedmind.org/

TheAnxietyLife
TheAnxietyLife

I'm 15 and jealous of your son. It would be amazing to have a mother that understands that anxiety and depression are real and can be horrible. I have severe anxiety and depression (not yet diagnosed) and need help. However, I can't get help because my mother doesn't believe in my problems. A support group for this would be great if we could all "come out of our shells" and talk to each other.

Keeplearning
Keeplearning

@hhhhccc This is my situation, too.  Fortunately, I pushed him into a martial arts class (he had been bullied and I thought this would build confidence).  He no longer does the martial arts class (it was cancelled) but trains in the same gym twice a week, spends time with mostly mature, kind adults there and really likes his trainer and the others.  BUT, he spends most of his time at home on the computer...which is a whole other worry  I know that the computer is the cope, not the main problem, so I try my best not to demonize it and instead keep offering opportunities to get out (99% of which are turned down).  I know the worry you must experience.  I would love for him to find an on-line support group.