As I mentioned in my last post about emotional abuse, and in my post called Research and Program Evaluation, I have to pick a topic to do research on for class. There are just so many topics to choose from and I want to research all of them! One of the topics that I would love to study up on is the etiology of social anxiety disorder. As I’ve mentioned before, I was diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) 8 years ago, at age 20. I went to the psychiatrist to be tested for ADHD last year and discovered that I no longer have the actual disorder, just some symptoms of it from time to time.
Anyways, so with a lot of diseases or disorders, you are able to trace it back to where it came from/when it started. A lot of disorders come from brain chemicals being imbalanced, or abuse, or trauma, or with lung cancer-smoking or maybe working in an unhealthy environment…Whatever…All that stuff. But where did my SAD come from? And why?
I’ve been researching it today (even though I should probably be researching my topic for class, but whatever, ya know?), and it seems that all of the research I have found is inconclusive. I’ve seen a few articles discussing whether genetics play a part, but all say there needs to be further research. I saw one article talk about childhood trauma possibly playing a role in the development of the disorder, but again, further research is needed. Perhaps the combination of both? Maybe people have a predisposition to the disorder and something triggers it? Like with sociopaths–many studies suggest that they are predisposed to the disorder but some major traumatic event in childhood is what sets it off (though this is also an area that needs to be further researched).
I haven’t looked it up yet to see if anyone has studied it or not, but I’ve often wondered if during the time of development where every child experiences separation anxiety (toddler to preschool years) SAD can develop? When I was in this stage of development, I was constantly in and out of the hospital, so I was experiencing medical trauma during this stage of life. I wasn’t able to experience proper development.
Then at age 7 all of the social aspects of my life flipped upside down. Family-friends-school-church-everything was just about stripped away except for my mom, dad, brother and my nana and papa (dad’s parents). We occasionally saw some friends and family (on my mom’s side), but things were just different. I didn’t know who I could trust anymore.
Then from ages 7-11 I was constantly told I was stupid and made to feel worthless by someone who mattered very much to me and I looked up to (brother).
I was home-schooled from 3rd grade until 6th grade and then began homeschooling again in in 7th grade. From grade 9 to 12 I was home-schooled but also took classes at that Christian school that I had gone to at the beginning of my life (at this time we moved back to our old house that I grew up in and built a relationship back with my mom’s side of the family).
So I wonder in which stage of my childhood/adolescent development did I begin to develop SAD?
I wish there was more conclusive research on the topic. However, I am so beyond thankful that I was able to work through the disorder and no longer have it. Check it out on my post titled How I Kicked Anxiety and Depression in the Ass.
No matter when it developed or why, you can be treated for it–whether with a therapist’s help of on your own (I did a little bit of both).
Find your strength and run with it, my friends. You are worth it. You are loved. You are beautiful. Find your confidence and stop worrying about other’s opinions. You can get through this.