Is Social Anxiety Disorder Hereditary Or Environmental
I’ve been thinking about social anxiety and why some people have it and others don’t. So I stumbled upon a dilemma whether social anxiety is hereditary or is it environmental.
I think it’s both and I’m going to explain it why.
Your Social Phobia Can Be Caused By Your Environment
If your parents or other influential figures in your life were timid and asocial, it’s very likely that this got transferred onto you. And since these role models weren’t the best models for successful socializing, you had no social skills to copy.
As kids, we copy our parents, grandparents and other kids in our environment. When these people lack social skills, we have nothing to copy. We need to intentionally develop these skills ourselves later on in life.
Unfortunately, this means that we’re starting late.
This means that we already lack social skills compared to our peers.
Lack Of Social Skills Makes Us Want To Hide The Shortcomings That We Have
We don’t want other people to see our lack of skills.
We don’t want them to think that we’re not good enough for them, right?
This kind of thinking makes us less open to interactions with other people.
We rather stay quiet and keep things to ourselves. We keep our heads down and try not to stand out. We do our best to remain unnoticed.
Sometimes, this makes us perfect targets for bullies.
They know that the quiet ones won’t fight back. They pick fights they know they can win and they know they can win fights against quiet people with no social skills and no friends to help them out.
Gradually, this avoidant behavior and bullying lead to social anxiety.
I think that this perfectly explains how our environment can cause the development of social anxiety.
However, I’ve noticed that social anxiety can also be genetic.
My older son is a very shy kid. He avoids interactions with other kids and tries to stay away from situations that are new to him. If he keeps going on like this, he could develop social anxiety.
I have every reason to believe that his brain functions a bit differently and his amygdala is working extra hard to keep him away from doing things where he could get emotionally hurt.
This is something that he was born with.
How do I know that?
Well, since I had social anxiety, I wanted to make sure that my kids don’t have it. I wanted to give them the social skills and encouragement to take action while they are still kids and don’t have all the prejudices that the adults have.
Basically, I did everything I could to be as social as possible, yet my oldest son didn’t pick up that behavior.
On the other hand, I have another son who is the complete opposite.
He’s outgoing and can hardly wait to try something new.
He’s just like any other kid who loves to explore.
Both kids are being raised in the same way and that gives me a good enough reason to believe, that our brains can be wired differently.
Some people are born with the amygdala (a small part of our brain that is responsible for emotional responses like fear and anxiety) that works properly.
This means that the amygdala warns them about dangerous situations only when danger is really there.
These people get nervous or anxious in situations that are really life-threatening. This helps them remove themselves from those situations as quickly as possible so that they don’t get hurt.
On the other hand, there are people who were born with the overly active amygdala.
This means that they get anxious even in situations that aren’t really life-threatening.
The good thing is that most people can still rewire their brain if they want to.
With self-awareness and some other helpful techniques, we can condition our brain to realize that most social situations aren’t really dangerous.
We can condition our brain that social situations can be fun and exciting.
We need to consciously gather enough evidence that most social situations, so we can change our negative limiting beliefs that are holding us back right now.
When we do so, our amygdala stops warning us about the danger that isn’t really present.
The thing is that most people are already born with the proper functioning amygdala, while people with social anxiety need to consciously work on that.
If you want to know how to overcome social anxiety, click on the link below, where I’ll give you more details on what to do to reprogram what your amygdala does in social situations.