What makes people anxious in social situations

Creation & maintenance

Biological factors:

It is believed that there is a certain amount of genetic predisposition for anxiety disorders there. For example, children of parents with anxiety disorders are 3.5 times more likely to develop an anxiety disorder as well. A heredity rate of 30-50% is assumed.
In addition, it is assumed that the balance is certain Messenger substances (neurotransmitters) is disturbed in the brain. In particular, it is assumed that the balance of the messenger substances serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine is disturbed. This also explains why, in severe cases, additional drug treatment with so-called "selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) ". Also, areas of the brain that are responsible for processing and storing emotional content (the so-called" almond kernel ") seem to be overactive, so that neutral stimuli can be interpreted as threatening more quickly.

Psychological factors:

Certain ones are even more crucial for the development and maintenance of a social phobia Learning experiences, Life events and Personality factors: People who suffer from a social phobia have often already had certain unfavorable experiences in childhood and adolescence, which now prepared the "ground" for the disorder.

These are often a overprotective parenting style of parents (similar to other anxiety disorders), in which those affected were overly controlled and restricted as a child. Those affected could not learn to act independently and autonomously to a sufficient extent. But the opposite parental behavior can also have unfavorable effects: if parents show indifferent, unstable behavior, the child can develop the conviction that contact with others is unpredictable and dangerous. The parents of people with social phobia often had little social contact. As a result, children could only learn certain social skills to a limited extent, and social contacts were seen as something special, possibly threatening. Often the parents attached too much importance to the opinions of third parties, which could lead to a high fear of appraisal and criticism on the part of those affected. Other Personality factorsSome of the factors that can contribute to a social phobia are excessive caution, perfectionism, and low self-esteem.

Concretely, a social phobia is then usually triggered by the fact that a special one is on this "prepared ground" Stress experience meets. This can be a critical life event or an overwhelming situation (e.g. entering professional life with new social demands). Social trauma (e.g. experiencing exclusion and bullying, shameful experiences in public) can also trigger a social phobia.