Children and teenagers with social anxiety disorder (SAD) may live with symptoms through adulthood without ever being diagnosed. Although SAD is the third most common mental health disorder, many parents and teachers are not familiar with the signs and symptoms in children and teenagers.
Social anxiety disorder involves an intense fear or phobia of social and performance situations. Although most teenagers go through periods of normal anxiety related to the changes that go along with adolescence, those with SAD experience fear that is out of proportion to the situations that they face. For some teenagers, social anxiety becomes chronic, affecting school performance, extracurricular activities and the ability to make friends.