Your Teen’s Shyness May Not Be “Just a Phase”

Puberty can bring an onset of mixed emotions which can surface as unique traits and characteristics you probably had never seen before in your child. Becoming less social, less talkative, and overall more introverted is actually common among many teens. The heightened fear of falling into a social faux pas causes many teens to dodge social settings like landmines, even at the slightest bit of akwardness. Some teens adopt the social and cultural norms of their peers in order to fit in and often remain social while other teens may all together avoid such settings and trends for fear of failing.

While this is typically seen as “just a phase”,  an intense level of shyness can actually be something called “Social Phobia”. Researchers from the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health examined shyness and social phobia rates among more than 10,000 teens aged 13 to 18 who took part in a national survey. The findings in the study help conclude that  Social Phobia is not an exaggerated term for shyness coined by psychiatrists and drug makers.  It is a real, palpable issue.

Social phobia, also called social anxiety, is a disabling condition characterized by extremely high levels of self-consciousness and anxiety. Some experts have suggested that the condition is a “medicalization” of a normal variation in shyness levels or that it has been publicized by psychiatrists and drug makers in order to increase sales of psychiatric drugs, especially among youth.”

To dismiss social phobia as simple shyness could potentially exacerbate the problem, leaving teens to cope with the disorder well into their adult lives. To read the full article published in USA Today, click here.

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