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Anxiety and Stress Disorders (Children)

Social Phobias

09/20/2006

Question:

My 5 year old son is afraid of everything it seems. He won`t leave the same room we are in to go into another room in the house without someone going with him. This is disruptive to our lives. He doesn`t want to leave the house. We have to go through him crying and yelling anytime we want to go somewhere. He has a temper and is extremely bossy. We took him out of preschool because it was too traumatic for him to go. I have actually considered homeschooling him because he gets so upset about being around other people. He won`t talk in front of people outside of our family. When strangers ask him a question or speak to him he acts as if he doesn`t even hear them. He won`t make eye contact or acknowledge that anyone is even there. I am worried about his not ever wanting to leave the house. I am also concerned that his reactions to everyday life issues are over reacted. However, he is extremely smart. I have 3 boys and he is the smartest one I believe. Also, he is the most introverted, frightened one. He fights me on almost everything except eating. I am thinking maybe it is time to get some help before Kindergarten starts.

Answer:

It sounds like your child may have a common anxiety disorder called social phobia which may at first look like an extreme form of shyness but progresses into social and learning impairment.  I would seek the opinion of your physician or a behavioral health professional.

For more information:

Go to the Anxiety and Stress Disorders (Children) health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Floyd R Sallee, MD
Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati