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Causes Of Social Anxiety Disorder

Scientists are not a 100% sure yet as to what the exact causes of social anxiety disorder are. This is still being researched.

They have, since they started the research, discovered some theories on the possible causes of social anxiety disorder which I will go over in this article.

Aside from that I will give you my personal view, which consists of my personal experience with social anxiety disorder, my investigation of the causes, and my coaching of people that suffered from social anxiety disorder.

Of all the Causes Of Social Anxiety Disorder, Is There A Main Cause?

Not really.

Researchers have estimated that one of the underlying causes of social anxiety disorder for one-third comes from your genetics.

This means that you might have been born with a higher sensitivity to criticism or social scrutiny that may have been passed on from one or both of your parents.

This higher sensitivity causes you to be more aware of subtle non-verbal facial expressions in other people. Due to this, you are better aware of what they are thinking and how they are feeling.

This can be a great skill as you can adjust and modify your behavior in the present moment to be more socially savvy. But it can also lead you to being more prone to developing and maintaining a social phobia.

What Else Can Be Causes Of Social Anxiety Disorder?

Well… Above I write about the research that has been done. And that you might be more likely to develop social anxiety.

I emphasize the words more likely here, because there are plenty of people that are born with the same higher sensitivity that don’t have social anxiety.


It’s a fact that when you are born you only have 2 basic fears; The fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. All other fears are learned.

So all negative emotions you experience due to your social anxiety disorder, you have to have developed somewhere in life.

The question is where and how…

Since there are a lot of possibilities, I go into some of the more common circumstances where you might have learned these fears.

You are more likely to have developed a social phobia when:

  • Your parents taught you to highly value other people’s opinion of you
  • Your parents were rejecting, critical, overprotective or controlling
  • Your parents used shame as punishment for disciplining you
  • You were brought up in an area with not many possibilities for social contact.

When there haven’t been much people around you when growing up, you were probably lacking in skill of interacting with other people.

This therefore might have been unknown and scary territory for you. And since we are habits of creature, you might have avoided the step outside your comfort zone of talking to other people.

If you did this for very long you have probably build up irrational beliefs and emotions around it meeting new people. Which in turn can very well be one of the causes of social anxiety disorder.

  • You grew up in a very competitive culture.

I have experienced the difference between cultures myself as I’ve lived in multiple countries. The difference in social anxiousness between living in a westernized country versus living in a third world county is huge.

In general, it has been my experience that in the third world countries people focus on surviving. There is less competition going on between each other and everyone seems to want to help each other out.

There is as a result way less to almost no social anxiety to be found in these countries.

In the westernized countries however, there is more emphasis on achieving, being the best and the striving for perfection

This might be the case for you as well. You possibly feel you don’t live up to society’s standards.

Maybe you think you’re not attractive enough. Maybe you feel you’re not smart enough. Maybe you are from a poor family and you therefore feel “less than”.

This then evolves in always feeling better/worse than other people which might be one of the causes of social anxiety disorder.

  • You hear about or observe socially negative experiences of others.
  • You had negative social experiences growing up.

Of the possible causes of social anxiety disorder, this is the one that I encounter the most as the main cause. Especially if you were born with a higher sensitivity to criticism or social scrutiny, this is probably what started your social phobia.

Things like being teased, getting harshly rejected, getting laughed at, being ignored or any other negative social experience might be a cause of a social anxiety disorder.

For some reason your brain couldn’t handle the stress at the moment of a negative social experience and therefore linked “danger” to it.

It did so to protect you from experiencing a negative situation like that one in the future.

By your brain having linked danger to that negative social experience, it sets of the anxiety response in you every time you get into a similar social experience in the future.

In those future social situations you get triggered by something, your brain remembers the situation, and as a result gives you the anxiety response.

The anxiety response basically means: “Careful, this is not safe, I learned that from last time!”

Since you now have situations you feel anxious in, because your mind signals danger to you, you might start to avoid these. If you do so, you start to build up anticipatory anxiety. You build up all these doom scenario’s in your mind and you start to fear getting anxious.

And since your brain generalizes, more and more situations start to look like the one that it wants you to avoid. And you as a result start to feel anxious in more and more situations.

This is in my opinion the main cause of social anxiety disorder

I Now Know The Causes Of Social Anxiety Disorder… Now What?

Good question. It’s interesting knowing what the cause of your own social anxiety disorder is, but now what do you do with it?

Well, since you now know that the causes of social anxiety disorder are something that we have picked up somewhere in life, things we have “learned”…

… you can rationalize that you can “unlearn” what you’ve learned as well!

This site provides tons of valuable tools, information, techniques, mindsets and strategies to help you do just that.

And there are several therapies out there that can help you to overcome your social anxiety. Of those EFT being the most effective -BY FAR-.

And if you are ready to completely overcome your social anxiety NOW, getting coached from the comfort of your own home and the ease of sitting behind your PC, my Skype Coaching Packages where we use the power of EFT is what you are looking for to achieve social confidence in ALL social situations.


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