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Social anxiety in children and teenagers

Social anxiety or social phobia are terms used to describe an intense self-consciousness or fear of embarrassment.

Social anxiety is common amongst teenagers, perhaps due to the changes that are happening to their brain resulting in teens being more socially aware and sensitive. Read more about how the developing teenage brain affects their behaviour.

Whilst we all might worry what other people think of us, social anxiety is a diagnosable anxiety disorder that can leave sufferers with an immense and limiting fear that they may do something to humiliate themselves in public settings. It can mean that the child or teenager with social anxiety does not partake in activities, becomes socially withdrawn, develop school refusal and may develop depression.

If you think your child or teenager is struggling with social anxiety, it can be a deeply upsetting and frustrating time. We can help. Our team of child and adolescent psychiatrists, psychologists and psychotherapists have the knowledge and training needed to help treat anxiety and successful help families like yours every day.

 

Call 0203 761 7026 to speak to one of our clinical advisors today.

How do I know if my child has social anxiety?

It’s normal for children and teenagers to feel worried before a presentation or performance at school, but if your child regularly shows distress when faced with social situations, or if they experience the symptoms of anxiety in social situations then it may be useful to seek professional help.

It can be hard for parents to know if there is a problem, as often children and teenagers with social anxiety are so concerned with what other people think of them that they play down their symptoms or internalise their anxiety for fear of criticism. This can mean that the child or teenage can conceal many of their symptoms.

As with many anxiety disorders, the symptoms of anxiety can be hugely unpleasant and distressing and for a child who is acutely worried about embarrassing themselves in front of others, their uncontrollable symptoms can make things even worse.

What treatment is available for social anxiety in children and teenagers?

CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and other talking therapies are some of the most useful ways of helping children and teenagers overcome their social anxiety. Working with a therapist, who has an understanding of social anxiety, can allow the child to understand their fears more and work on successful coping strategies they can apply in everyday life.

For some children and teenagers, their anxiety is so severe that medication is needed to help keep the symptoms in control and allow them to engage with the therapy. The first step is to receive a diagnosis by a child and adolescent psychiatrist, as the symptoms of social anxiety can be found in other disorders such as Autism.

If you think your child or teenager is struggling with social anxiety, it can be a deeply upsetting and frustrating time. We can help. Our team of child and adolescent psychiatrists, psychologists and psychotherapists have the knowledge and training needed to help treat anxiety and successful help families like yours every day.

 

Call 0203 761 7026 to speak to one of our clinical advisors today.

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