Posts Tagged ‘Social anxiety’

How Does Social Anxiety Affect the Brain?


Excerpt from PyschCentral

“Social anxiety disorder, also known as social phobia, is a form of anxiety that causes intense fear and embarrassment in social situations.

For example, it’s common to feel slightly nervous when meeting new people or speaking in public. People with social anxiety disorder can experience a paralyzing fear that makes it hard for them to live everyday life.

We now know that social anxiety disorder affects more than just relationships, work, and other daily activities — it also affects the brain.

Researchers have found that critical areas in the brains of socially anxious people function differently. These areas mainly involve processing emotion, danger, and social cues.

What causes social anxiety?

It’s still not clear exactly what causes social anxiety. Research from 2022 suggests that genetic and environmental influences cause social anxiety, such as upbringing and life experiences.

Research has revealed certain areas of the brain that play a role in fear and anxiety, and we know that genetics affects their function. But researchers don’t yet know which specific genes those are.

Children of controlling, overprotective, or intrusive parents are more likely to develop a social anxiety disorder.

Stressful life events such as sexual or emotional abuse also increase the risk of developing the disorder.

The hope is that by studying how the brain is affected by social anxiety, researchers can develop more effective treatments for the disorder.”

Continued in response



Social Anxiety

My PTSD is connected to my social anxiety, both under the anxiety umbrella.

Social anxiety harbors abstract, unknown fears around people, crowds, criticism, humiliation, and shame.



All of this is not exactly concrete, not quite tangible, not touchable, has no smell, and is hard to explain with words.

We never know when it will go off, explode, or dump anxiety drugs into our system.

My mother was always skittish, sat in the last pew at mass, hiding, teaching us how to hide, how to feel unworthy, always scared of what could happen.

I think my mom had a rough life being married to my narcissistic father, their personalities were opposite.

My mind searches for danger subconsciously, quickly, then I have to discount these judgments before coming back to now.

Emotional danger is a strange feeling.

Hard to describe in words.

Social anxiety morphed into agoraphobia, a natural progression of avoidance after avoidance.

Agoraphobia marked my low point, PTSD had stolen my sanity by this point.

A type-A driver hid in the shadows, I feared (perceived) for my life.

Nothing I did back then dented the power of my trauma.

I stopped leaving my house, trying to calm my nervous system at all costs.

PTSD was out of control, my nervous system had flipped upside down, and life was a nightmare.

I never came back to normal but learned to enjoy life again.

Many times when hopelessness arrived, the one trait that refused to fail, was never giving up.

“The origins of and mechanism behind social anxiety”




Excerpts from Darius Cikanavicius, Author, Certified Coach:
For the most part, social anxiety develops as an adaptation to stressful and hurtful social childhood environments.


When a child is small, their whole world consists of their primary caregivers (mother, father, family members, other authority figures). This world slowly expands as they get older, but how people understand social interactions is set. In other words, the examples we are exposed to as children creates blueprints for our future relationships.
Sadly, most if not all of us are traumatized as children to one degree or another. The degree to which we were hurt is the degree to which we will have interpersonal problems. One of the most common interpersonal problems is, indeed, social anxiety.



Hurt and mistreated children grow up into adults who feel disappointed, distrustful, overly trustful, bitter, angry, clingy, stressed, numb, or emotionally unavailable in relationships and interactions with others.
They have been programmed to feel like that by how they were treated when they were small, helpless, impressionable, and dependent. Back then, acceptance and validation were vital.



As I write in the book Human Development and Trauma:

“Childhood trauma leads children to become more afraid of the world. When a child’s first and most important bonds are unstable, it is natural and expected that in adulthood they will transfer this lack of a sense of safety and security onto others.”



Unresolved pain that stems from early relationships can haunt us for the rest of our lives. Early hurt and pain can program us to feel and believe that, generally, people are dangerous. They will hurt us, laugh at us, use and abuse us, punish us, hate us, want us dead, or even kill us.



It can be understood as a form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD or C-PTSD) where the trigger is people and social situations because in the past they were a great source of pain.


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