Can Timidity or Shyness Lead to Mental Illness

Timidity and shyness, both are social psychology terms that are in use to describe or refer feelings of apprehension to approach or being approached by other individuals. Being a timid or shy person implies that there is lack of confidence in the person and the person feels awkward in close proximity and also deters one self from mixing in unfamiliar situation and circumstances. The causes for this kind of behavior can be many from genetic traits, personality introversion to growing up environment. However, this characteristic of avoiding human beings because of apprehension, if becomes acute may lead to mental illness.

Timid nature or excessive shy behavior in adolescence is not a healthy sign, instead it manifests itself as a mental illness more commonly termed as SAD (Social Anxiety Disorder) or Social Phobia. SAD is an extreme form of shyness where the fears of individual are irrational, individuals’ experiences extreme self-consciousness in social surroundings and baseless worries of sheer rejection and pessimism. However, the truth is people who suffer from excessive shyness recognize that the fears are irrational but they are unable to come to terms with it. In the process these people began to build walls around them instead of bridges and that leads to living an isolated life with no social contacts. Such a condition for a considerable period of time may lead to clinical depression, loneliness and feeling of despair.

The warnings signs of timidity and excessive shyness that might lead to mental illness are uncomfortable while eating or drinking in the presence of unfamiliar people and even surroundings, avoiding eye contacts with people, appears always tensed and might giggle nervously. There is a perceptible feeling of anxiety and over time this psychological disorder might lead to physical symptoms as well such as clenching of teeth, trembling, racing heart, dizziness and even shortness of breath and fainting.

But the best part is, this kind of disorders can definitely be treated. Before medication it is better to get help from cognitive behavioral therapy to treat social phobia. This alternative approach often helps individual to come to terms with their selves, they try to recognize their anxieties and this helps in treating the phobias. This type of treatment is beneficial in the long run as it helps in re-examination of thinking patterns of individuals. However, to control physical symptoms, beta blockers are often administered. To control depression, one often needs to take antidepressants. However to begin treatment of social phobia with medication, SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) are often prescribed.

However, meditation is also helpful in dealing with social anxieties and to ward off shyness, to gain confidence and boost self esteem.