How to Identify Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder in Children

Social anxiety disorder (also known as social phobia) is one of the most common mental disorders,[citation needed] although it is often not recognized for what it truly is. If you feel that a child you know may have social anxiety disorder, but would like some confirmation before moving on to treatment, this article will be of help.


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    Watch for signs of general anxiety. This includes, but is not limited to:[citation needed]
    • Shaking, sweating.
    • Darting eyes or jerking motions.
    • Quick speech.
    • Withdrawal from others.
    • Pacing, slouching in an attempt to hide.
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    Pay attention to the activities that the child is participating in. This includes observing their general attitude towards activities involving other people.
    • Pay attention to whether or not the child enjoys sports when others are around.
    • Is the child frightened of speaking, singing, or dancing in public (this should not be immediate cause for treatment, as many children get stage fright).
    • Pay attention if the child is a perfectionist about the way their hair, makeup, clothes, and general appearance look before even thinking about appearing in front of people (this is also more common as kids get older).
    • Does the child act afraid of general contact with people? Does he/she dread school, church, or play dates with friends? (Again, this is hard to judge, but this would be less a dread of learning and more a fear of people themselves.)
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    Consider whether these fears affect the child's life in a significant way. For example:
    • Is the child making up excuses to not attend?
    • Is the child pretending to be sick?
    • Is the child getting bad grades in school?
    • Is the child drawing away from friends and family members, resulting in a loss of friendship?
    • Is the child coming home from such activities dejected and lonesome more often than not?
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    Think about whether these symptoms are simple shyness or social anxiety disorder. Many children are shy. The difference between being shy and having social anxiety disorder is that people with social anxiety disorder will go to excessive lengths to avoid social situations.[citation needed] Things that might denote that the condition is more serious include:
    • Does the child seem increasingly depressed?
    • Is the child a perfectionist about things concerning other people and less about cleanliness or symmetry?
    • Does the child seem insecure (more than others his/her age)?
    • Does the child bring activities (such as books or paper and pens) with the point of seeming busy so that they will not be approached by others?
    • Does the child seem agitated and frantic more often than not?
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    Speak to a health professional about your concerns. It's best to get help and not feel that you cannot help your child. Set up an appointment with a local psychiatrist or psychologist. They may be able to help.


  • Often, social anxiety disorder leads to general anxiety, which leads to isolation, which leads to depression.[citation needed]
  • There are many factors that can cause social anxiety disorder. Think about your child's past, and try to see if there was a starting point in the social anxiety disorder. This is hard to pinpoint, as often social anxiety disorder can develop from the smallest things, such as a rude or even subtle comment someone made that made the child feel insecure. If your child has started losing their sense of self-worth from then on, this may be a good thing to bring up with a counselor or therapist.


  • If you worry that your child is becoming suicidal, contact the authorities immediately.

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Categories: Articles in Need of Sources | Childhood Health | Social Anxiety