Possible Causes Include:
Like many other mental health conditions, social anxiety disorder likely arises from a complex interaction of environment and genes.
Genetic Causes: As the condition is more common in families (appears to run in families). There is ongoing research which attempts to find out how much of this is genetic versus acquired learning (if family members are anxious, the offspring will learn that behavior). A specific social anxiety ‘gene’ has yet to be discovered.
Chemical: Scientists are currently undergoing research into what natural body chemicals might be playing a part in the development of social anxiety disorder. Serotonin, a brain chemical, may play a key role when its brain levels are not right or if the patient is extremely sensitive, some scientists suggest.
Brain: Some experts believe the amygdala (part of the brain) may play a role in fear response, resulting in an excessive reaction in patients with an overactive amygdala.
Demographic: Mediterranean countries have lower rates of social anxiety disorder compared to Scandinavian countries. This could be due to warmer weather as well as a higher population density in the Mediterranean countries. Warmer weather may reduce avoidance and increase interpersonal contact. Others suggest that the factors may be cultural.
Negative Experiences: Children who experience teasing, bullying, rejection, ridicule or humiliation may be more prone to social anxiety disorder. In addition, other negative events in life, such as family conflict or sexual abuse, may be associated with social anxiety disorder.