A good piece appeared in the New York Times today (Sept. 28, 2021) discussing social anxiety and teens. This has increased as the pandemic has continued. Here are some highlights.
- About 9 to 10 percent of young adults and adolescents in the United States have the disorder, defined as an intense fear of being watched and judged by others, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Now many have felt their extreme self-consciousness grow more severe, psychologists say.
- As the country continues its gradual re-emergence from lockdowns, some young people are grappling anew with the disorder’s symptoms, encountering newfound insecurities, a fear of public spaces and a reluctance to hang out with friends. The result, experts said, has been a harmful weakening of their socializing muscles, underscoring the pandemic’s potential long-lasting effects on the mental health of a generation.
- Intertwined with these feelings, many young people say, is a pressure to enjoy their youth while knowing the pandemic and their social anxiety have prevented them from taking even the simplest steps of early adulthood, like meeting new co-workers in person, going on dates or simply having fun with friends on a night out.
- As we start to socialize more, we’re going to probably see greater rates of social anxiety than there were before the pandemic.
- Several studies and psychologists across the country expect the disorder to become more prevalent in the coming months, leading to greater rates of depression, which already affects about 13 percent of adults ages 18 to 25.
“Pandemic and Social Anxiety.” New York Times (Sept. 28, 2021).