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hollywoodfreaks

Anyone successfully treated their social phobia?

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Guest Guest_beth_*

YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I desperately suffered from social phobia for 35 years. I completely empathize with you. It is a terribly painful affliction. It dominated my life. I could not speak to anyone. I could not look at anyone. I could not relate to anyone. I could not function at work, school, or socially.  I was forever depressed, ruminating, anxious, sad, unable to leave my bed, tortured.  I was self-conscious. I could not speak.  I never raised my voice above a whisper. 

I was a lawyer, unable to face clients or my employer.  I succeeded academically, but could not talk to a classmate or form a relationship with anyone. 

Have faith. You can overcome this disorder. 

Find someone who does not judge shy people, and who understands the affliction of being shy.  Learn that most people are only concerned with themselves, not you.  Ask a lot of questions. This will enable you to learn how to tolerate the pressure of talking to someone, without the burden of worrying about being judged for your answers. 

Give up perfectionism. 

Learn the art of forgiveness.

Overcome shame.  For many, this will involve overcoming childhood admonitions related to sexual behavior and mores.

I hate to admit it, but antidepressants can help, as well.

I was the shiest person on earth, in continual pain since my earliest memory at age 3.  I am now 40 and I am not existing in the state of perpetual terror and sadness associated with social phobia. If I could survive this affliction, you can, too.

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Thanks, Beth.  I feel as though I have come a LONG way in the past six months but find that I'm falling into old patterns like being afraid to say hi to people at work, etc.  But I am functional, and antidepressants are helping me, and I still have my therapist to help me.

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Guest Guest_Lathern_*

Thanks for the replies. You are right the headaches disappeared about the 2nd week. I am taking 10mg Lexapro and it helps. I plan to stay on it but keep it at this low doese as very few side effects. I do notice a lose of energy, of apathy coming on, of wanting to just do passive things like read or just sit. I 've had this in the pAst on other SSRIs and have to work against it. I do a lot of exerise which I need. It stay with it. But the few unwanted side effects  are far out weighed  by the good things.

Would like to add on a positive note with Beth's reply that I have suffered shyness all my life and always had to work against it. It hurt me and kept me from being what I could have been because although I had the intelligence I could not articulate it in groups or one on one with authority figures. But I worked at it and I succeeded beyond anything I could have dreamed of when I was a kid. You can too.

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Seems like you're doing much better.  I see both my pdoc and tdoc today.  I'm not sure the k is working all that well.  I take .5mg before bed and at about 10am.  I seem to get nervous when I am thinking about what situations I can be put in when I go out on a Friday or Saturday night.  Maybe I should be taking it 3 times a day ?  I guess I'll see what he says today.

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Hi, mine seemed to improve with prozac and I always had plenty of same-sex friends I hung out with all the time. Of course, I can't take prozac anymore but I still seemed to be "cured" (I strongly suspect that hullucinogen use was a contributing factor but is not an endorseable consideration.) With the exception of being nervous at gatherings where I don't know anyone and a little bit around women when I first meet them, I'm really pretty normal. Those exceptions are not uncommon in healthy people anyway. So I guess my answer is: any med that helps with depression/anxiety and social interaction I feel is a must. Especially if you can go out and meet new people with a friend by your side. I don't think the human brain was engineered to be surrounded by strangers. I've found that if a make an effort to be friendly, most people are glad even if I am nervous (I mean in "safe places" like work, parties, or classes; on the street I keep to myself)

-good luck!

I'm just wondering if anyone has undergone therapies or taken drugs that were meant to specifically target social phobia that were successful.

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About public speaking and meds.

No doubt Klonopin can help with most anything (OK, MANY problems, anyhow). I take ca 4 mg/day. The catch is you Do have to take it an hour ahead of time. So, for instance if I'm in a difficult family therapy situation, and I suddenly feel my heart start to race, it's WAY too late for trusty ol' Klonopin (in which case, I discreetly pop an even more trusty 10 mg. Valium. And then I just hope it kicks in, in time so I don't completely waste the session. MIght even - blechhh - CHEW the Valium). (Which reminds, me I hear those Klonopin wafers are really cool - and work fast. But they're WAY out of reach with my insurance ;) )

But I'm surprised nobody mentioned Propanolol. It's THE method of choice for musicians suffering from stage-.fright (especially before big competitions) Some consider it cheating.

About overcoming Social Anxiety Disorder, I thought this sounded promising. A high tech aid to imaginative densensitization therapy (typically used for phobias).

Cool article in general (excerpt below)

. Recent Developments in Research and Treatment for Social Phobia (Social Anxiety Disorder)

from "Current Opinion in Psychiatry" (18/1)

It's actually more than a year old at this point, but it's still ivery relevant. Sub-topics: Research (what causes it -theories of inheritance, brain development etc.) and new treatments - pharmacological and psychological. Here's a the virtual reality one I liked. (Hope you can access Medscape as the whole thing is worthwhile if that's your thing.)

rt

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/497225

Virtual Reality Therapy for Social Phobia

Virtual reality therapy (VRT) represents a new tool for implementing exposure to avoided social situations. This emerging exposure-based new form of therapy has been evaluated in a few single case designs. VRT may be an alternative to the standard exposure techniques and seems to bring significant advantages by allowing exposure to varied situations. Moreover studies have shown that human subjects are sensitive enough to virtual environments.

Its inconvenience is the cost of building the software. VRT requires a personal computer which runs a video program representing the social situations, which is connected to a head-mounted display with glasses representing what is going on the computer screen. The head-mounted display is also connected to a tracker that follows the movements of the patients and modifies the perspective on the video display according to his or her angle of vision. Hence, the 'illusion of presence' is created: the patient feels that he or she is projected inside the artificial space designed by the engineers and the clinicians. VRT uses the well-known capacity of the human brain to fill the gaps of reality. Anxious persons are exquisitely sensitive to illusion of presence.

The advantage of such a method is the possibility to repeat a graded immersion into social situations, as in video games but with a higher degree of realism. In the long run, one may find that, after the initial costs of the software development have been covered, VRT could be less expensive than regular CBT. To date controlled studies have dealt almost exclusively with fear of flying, with positive outcomes.[10**]

A pilot cohort study carried out by Klinger et al .[11**] tested virtual reality exposure in the treatment of social phobia, using a non-randomized control of patients treated with CBT. The virtual environments reproduced four situations that social phobic patients feel to be the most threatening: performance, intimacy, scrutiny and assertiveness. With the help of the therapist, the patient learns adapted cognitions and behaviours when coping with social situations, with the aim of reducing her or his anxiety in the corresponding real-life situations. In this protocol, the efficacy of the virtual reality treatment was compared with well-established and well-validated group CBT treatment.

The authors compared 18 social phobic patients who received nine VRT sessions with 18 social phobic patients, who received regular CBT in a group setting. The therapist guided and instructed the patient in sessions of 45 min. Five scenarios were used: a training environment; an assertiveness environment, being in front of active sellers in a shoe store; an intimacy environment, family table; a scrutiny environment, being looked at in a street caf

Edited by realitytest

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But I'm surprised nobody mentioned Propanolol. It's THE method of choice for musicians suffering from stage-.fright (especially before big competitions) Some consider it cheating.

I've taken Propanolol but it never helped with social anxiety/phobia. May have kept my heart from pouding but did nothing for the underlying problem.

It is the method of choice for some musicians, and it is cheating, cheating the musicians themeslves. When my mate was in grad school, a well known and respected school of music, most of the folks couldn't perform without propanolol. Once they started taking the stuff they needed it, wouldn't think of performing with out it. Stage fright for a professional is common but is also part of the life and in most cases doesn't keep one from having to retire/forego public performances.

I find the klonopin works pretty well as long as I take it on time or plan to take it before I have to venture outside the house or before a therapy session. I have to say the Valium is a much quicker fix for me too. The added problem the benzos can cause with short term memory problems can, at times, make the whole public speaking worse (from my own expereince).

Edited by Batou

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