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Causes of social anxiety disorder include genetic, social experiences, and substance-induced. There is a greater risk of having a social phobia if a relative has the disorder.

This could be due, in part, to genetics or social acquisition activities where children acquire social fears and avoidance through observational learning.

In addition, children who have experienced bullying tend to be more susceptible to social anxiety. Sexual abuse influences the risk.

Negative social experiences often trigger social phobia. A traumatic event is often linked with the worsening of the disorder.

The event may be related to a specific social phobia such as public speaking. Social anxiety disorder may be caused by longer-term effects of not feeling a part of a group, essentially, not fitting in and feeling rejected.

Studies have reported that children who were neglected by their peers often experienced higher social anxiety and fear of negative evaluation.

Lastly, alcohol tends to relieve social phobia. However, excessive alcohol has a negative effect. In fact, it can worsen social phobia symptoms, causing panic disorder to develop and/or worsen during alcohol intoxication.

This is especially evident during alcohol withdrawal syndrome. The effect is not just specific to alcohol. Benzodiazepines offer anti-anxiety properties and are useful for short-term treatment.

On the other hand, using alcohol and benzodiazepines for a longer period of time to resolve anxiety can encourage dependence and worsen the social anxiety disorder.