About Social Phobia in Children
Social phobia, or social anxiety disorder, is one of the serious mental health problems in America.
- Fear of social situations is often confused with shyness, which is more of a general temperament.
- Social phobia can hinder the growth of affected children, well into their adolescence. They may fail to realize their full potential or talents as they would rather prefer being withdrawn from society.
- Children who have social phobia should be taken seriously as they are suffering from a mental condition.
Risky Symptoms of Social Phobia in Children
Warning signs or symptoms indicate social anxiety disorder among children.
- Child fears being laughed at or humiliated in simple daily situations.
- Social contact is greatly avoided. If the child finds himself facing such opportunity, he endures it painstakingly.
- Physical manifestations include sweaty palms, racing heartbeat, difficulty in focusing and stomach ache.
- Eye contact and conversation is avoided.
- Avoidance of places with high density of people like shopping malls, restaurants, gym and cafeteria.
- In school, the child will not participate in oral reports or recitation that would require everyone’s attention focused on him.
- Having no circle of friends
- Significant impairment in some motor skills
- All these symptoms mentioned may manifest for at least 6 months.
Causes of Social Phobia in Children
Modern medical science has not determined one true cause of social phobia, but there are circumstances that might trigger it.
- Genetics may offer clues as to how social phobia occurs. Social anxiety disorder can be inherited or passed on from one generation to the next.
- Malfunction in the secretion of serotonin in the brain may give way to a neurological imbalance. Serotonin is the hormone that functions during the body’s reaction to fear.
- Environmental factors may also be traced to the child’s social phobia. Growing up sheltered by parents or having unsociable family members can result to social anxiety disorder.
Treatment of Social Phobia in Children
- Cognitive behavioral therapy is the key tool in treating social phobia among young patients. It helps to enhance the child’s independence.
- Use of positive reinforcement may help to persuade regular attendance in school.
- Therapists help the sufferer relearn not to be anxious in light of social situations. The child is made to feel calm and composed through reconditioning of his behavioral response.
- Role-playing is another common form of therapy, which would allow the child to imagine a typical stressful situation and learn to cope with more positive reaction.
- Medications such as anti-depressants and anti-anxiety pills are administered under the guidance of a licensed therapist.