Cindy Gullo, LCPC - Therapist & Counselor
The Blog

What to Know About Your Teen Daughter and Social Anxiety

counseling a teen girl with social anxiety

A female therapist discusses anxiety with a teenage patient.

As a parent, you want the very best for your child. You want to see them flourish, interact with their peers, and most of all, enjoy life. However, not all young teens, especially teen girls, feel comfortable enough to participate in social engagements, give a class presentation, or even go out on that first date. Some people might say they’re shy and will grow out of it, but that is not always the case. Some children, especially young teen girls, suffer from social anxiety disorder (SAD). Social anxiety disorder affects millions of teens each year. The disorder can completely interfere with a teen’s daily activities and interactions with their friends. If you think your teen, might be dealing with social anxiety, it is important to learn as much information as you can about the disorder. Here are some interesting facts you should know.

What Exactly Is Social Anxiety?

Social anxiety disorder – formerly called social phobia – is the fear of being judged by others or worrying about being embarrassed. Your teen may look perfectly fine and well-dressed for school, but yet feel very insecure about worrying about what others are thinking of them. Some teens may feel as if they will never fit in or have friends. When they look at other girls, they may wonder why, they can’t be more like them, surrounding by friends and hanging out with the popular crowd.  Social anxiety is often experienced out and around other people. When out in public you may notice the teen acting withdrawn and insecure.

How Do Teens Get Social Anxiety?

There are three known factors that can link teens and social anxiety.

  1. Genetics – The biological makeup of an individual. It is believed that the condition is inherited. Most teens with social anxiety disorder also usually have a close relative with the disorder as well.
  2. Brain structure – There is a part of the brain called the amygdala which controls the processing of emotions. People with social anxiety apparently have an overactive amygdala.
  3. Brain chemistry – It is also thought that a lack of serotonin in the brain plays a role in social anxiety. Social anxiety disorder is usually treated with a serotonin antidepressant.

How Does Social Anxiety Disorder Affect My Child?

Social anxiety disorder affects everyone differently. However, for some reason it seems to be more prominent with young teen girls. Most teen girls enjoy being surrounded by friends, and just feeling as they belong. Many times social anxiety is brushed off to be “shyness”, however, the disorders systems are more serious than being shy. Here are some common symptoms of the disorder, you may notice in your child.

  • Inability to make eye contact
  • Nervous
  • Sweating
  • Upset stomach
  • Jitteriness
  • Headaches
  • Sleepless

Your teen may also show symptoms of social anxiety because of being humiliated as a young child. Not all children will tell their parents when they have been experiencing certain negative behaviors from others. These behaviors include being:

  • Bullied
  • Teased
  • Rejected
  • Ridiculed
  • Abused

What Can Be Done to Help My Teen?

Your teen needs your support to understand their feelings are valid. However, diagnosing and treatment of social anxiety disorder require an expert. Just remember, it does get better! If you think, your teen daughter is suffering from social anxiety schedule an appointment with me today.