When do parents know if their child, who has always been labeled "shy" actually has a more severe diagnosis; social anxiety disorder (SAD)? Being shy is a personality trait- one who is slow to warm up to people and new situations. A shy person reports having good relationships with others even looks forward to birthday parties and the first day of school. A child with social anxiety disorder may or may not be shy. Instead of being slow to warm up, they prefer to avoid social events as it causes them significant stress and fear of humiliation. These children do not report having many close friends and often prefer to isolate themselves from others.
If a child exhibits "shyness," it is probably just a personality trait that they can overcome when they want to. However, if a child is more avoidant and defensive regarding social situations, more questions should be raised. If a child does not receive treatment or help for their social anxiety, they may eventually become depressed due to isolation and report a lower quality of life.
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