What causes social anxiety in adults?
There is not a known cause for social anxiety, and it can occur at any age. Therapists and current research suggest a combination of heredity or genetics, environmental factors and/or a history of negative experiences. For instance, being abused, bullied, or having ongoing conflict with family could all contribute to developing social anxiety.
Chemical imbalances in the brain can also have an impact in social anxiety disorder; a chemical known as serotonin is responsible for regulating mood. An overactive amygdala (a structure in the brain that controls fear response and feelings or thoughts of anxiety) may also cause or contribute to social anxiety in adults.
Anxiety can run in families; however researchers are unsure of if it due to “nature” or “nurture.” A chemical imbalance may exist, but a child may also learn anxious behaviors from an adult or develop the disorder by having an overcontrolling or abusive parent.