Commentary: ‘Dropping out of school, refusing to leave home’ – social anxiety can be crippling

Commentary: ‘Dropping out of school, refusing to leave home’ - social anxiety can be crippling


Due to the intense anxiety and avoidance of interpersonal interactions, social anxiety disorder can greatly impair daily functioning.

Routine behaviors that most people assume are a source of great stress For instance, being afraid to interact with others or be spotted by other guests can make buying food from hawker stalls frustrating.

In extreme cases, individuals may completely avoid eating or drinking in public places, as happened with one of my patients. She skipped lunchtime and recess immediately because she could hardly bear the perceived investigation.

Some people may experience almost silent in social settings as a result of overwhelming anxiety. Major effects can be had on one’s personal development, academic success, and overall quality of life from this level of social mitigation and the resulting isolation.


The causes of social anxiety disorder are varied, involving genetic, environmental, emotional, and increasingly recognised, online effects.

A major role is played by hereditary factors. Social anxiety disorder sufferers frequently have an active amygdala, a region of the brain that makes them more prone to social anxiety.

Social anxiety disorder is also influenced by environmental variables, such as lifestyle and personal experience. For instance, children who have protective or critical parents as young children and those who have been bullied may struggle to feel self-assured in social settings, which could increase their risk of developing social phobia.

People who are normally introverted or especially sensitive to criticism may also be more prone to this problem.

In today’s modern world, extensive usage of smartphones and social media is compound stress. Regular communication can lead to an overreliance on electronic communication, reducing face- to- face interactions and possibly weakening the individual’s interpersonal skills.

Also, constant exposure to idealised images of others ‘ lives does increase feelings of weakness and stress. Anxiety can be exacerbated by the pressure to regulate and be present constantly, especially in social settings.