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Social anxiety disorder (SAD), previously called social phobia, is a mental health condition. Children with SAD often feel nervous, afraid, or embarrassed when they are around other people in social situations. They worry that other people are judging or criticizing them for how they look, what they say, or how they act. These symptoms persist for 6 months or longer and are present on more days than not.
SAD involves more than just feeling shy or self-conscious at times. It can cause severe emotional distress. It can interfere with activities of daily life. SAD may also lead to alcohol or drug use, and even suicide.
SAD is a common mental health condition. It can develop at any time, but it usually starts in the teenage years.
The cause of this condition is not known. It may involve genes that are passed through families. Stressful events may trigger anxiety. This disorder is also associated with an overactive amygdala. The amygdala is the part of the brain that triggers your child's response to strong feelings, such as fear.
This condition is diagnosed based on your child's history, symptoms, and behavior in social situations. Your child's health care provider may ask about your child's use of alcohol, drugs, and prescription medicines. The health care provider may refer you and your child to a mental health specialist for further evaluation or treatment. The health care provider may also want to talk with your child's teachers and caregivers.
These treatments are often used in combination.
This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider. Make sure you discuss any questions you have with your health care provider.
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