Social Anxiety Disorder in Adolescents

Adolescence is a time of transitions and challenges for many individuals, and can be especially difficult for teenagers with social anxiety disorder. This surprisingly common condition impacts one in every eight youths between the ages of nine and seventeen, according to a report on mental health from the US Surgeon General.

Fortunately, knowing how to spot common symptoms of social anxiety disorder in teens improves their chances of receiving appropriate services and support.

Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder in School

Social anxiety disorder in adolescents, as in children and adults, is characterized by fear and avoidance of social situations, ranging from relatively low-pressure interactions, such as initiating a conversation to more high-stakes activities like public speaking or performing.

Adolescents who appear socially withdrawn and isolated or who experience distress at the thought of being publicly singled out may be at risk for social anxiety disorder. For these individuals, even talking on the phone or being called on in class can elicit fears of social rejection or embarrassment.

Research-Based Treatment Options

Previous studies have demonstrated that Cognitive Behavior Therapy, or CBT, is an effective method for treating social anxiety disorder. The use of CBT can help adolescents regulate their behavior by learning to manage negative thoughts and reactions to anxiety-inducing situations. Moreover, the treatment includes social skill development exercises that allow adolescents to take gradual steps toward achievable goals, reduce avoidance and fear, and improve their overall quality of life.

How to Help

Our next post will highlight the ways parents and school staff can help adolescents with social anxiety disorder. Stay tuned!

To learn more about anxiety and various treatment options, please contact the therapists at Georgetown Psychology Associates.

An Overview of Social Anxiety Disorder in Adolescents: Part Two

An Overview of Social Anxiety Disorder in Adolescents: Part Three