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Thoughts on Social Phobia, and possible remedies

Posted by billym on January 13, 2004, at 23:09:14

I wish more people posted about Social Phobia here, because it is a problem that can ruin a person's life. It certainly has mine.

I use the term "Phobia", because I think it is more appropriate than "anxiety". Anxiety is more along the lines of stage fright, GAD, "panic attacks". As a social phobic, I experience none of these. I barely experience "anxiety".

A short list of symptoms might look like this:

1) Long-term pattern of an inability to make ANY friends.

2) When in social situations, symptoms range from a slurred speech, talking too fast or too slow, inability to make any eye contact, hold a conversation longer than a few seconds (literally), unable to think of anything to say, self-consciousness, etc.

3) Inability to form coherent thoughts 'on the fly' as required in a social setting. Often the brain gets 'stuck', you freeze, like a deer in the headlights, you don't know how to react to what's happening around you.

4) Often your inner thoughts are very coherent, but when spoken and expressed to others, they come out as a jumbled mess. Before one gets too far along, one shuts up and learns to keep quiet.

Even if you try your hardest, these things cannot be overcome. Even if you have a positive mindset going into a social situtation, these things will flare up. Often times, you are not even anxious about being around others -- you sometimes look forward to it -- but once you are in the situation, you are like a computer program full of bugs. You are unable to respond to the people around you or connect with them AT ALL. I repeat: AT ALL.

The condition isn't a simple matter of trying harder, trying to meet people, etc. Every time you try, you will fail.

This naturally leads to all sorts of other problems, including feelings of inadequacy, lack of self-worth, loneliness, etc.

If one word could characterize the condition, I would believe it to be "inhibition". Extreme, unremitting inhibition and inability to express one's self around others.

I've tried some of the drugs out there that might work in treating this. For me, alcohol doesn't do much in the way of relieving the inhabition. It's not practical to get drunk every day before work or before class just so you can have a friendly conversation with someone. Pot is not practical either and does not work.

I've tried Lexapro -- it is useless for this condition. Remeron is also useless. I believe Xanax is largely useless as well. They aren't powerful enough. The problem is severe, and too much of whatever effectiveness these drugs offer can be explained away as a mere placebo or psychosomatic effect.

I think of possibilities, and Klonopin comes to mind due to its uninhibitory characteristics. It has to be powerful, and it has to have a proven track record of actually WORKING.

What I think is the core problem is a "fear blockage" in the mind, that prevents a free flow of thought and feeling to express itself. Instead, it is filtered through fear mechanisms that are hard-wired in the brain. No amount of positive thinking or cognative therapy can change it. What might, however, is a drug that would undo those blockages and allow the mind to open up fully -- to the point a person can simply look another person in the eye, say hello, and have a friendly conversation without it blowing up in their face.

If anyone has any success, any thoughts at all, please post.




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