Isolation caused by social anxiety

Social anxiety leads to great isolation. From the outside people may say “well that is good right? People with social anxiety avoid others so they don’t feel uncomfortable. They get what they wanted.” Well not necessarily. Everyone can endure some isolation and some might even enjoy it for the most part but no man is an island. Unfortunately those with social anxiety find it hard to make friends unless they find someone outgoing who makes them come out of their shell. To quote Robin Williams: “I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people that make you feel all alone.”

isolation social anxiety

Is isolation an early death sentence?

Being all alone isn’t only detrimental to your mental health but it may also increase your chances of an early death. Studies have shown that a lack of social connections can increase the risk of death by 50% at a minimum. In some circumstances it was more than 90%. That is very similar to the risk caused by smoking and more than that from lack of exercise or obesity.

Keeping track of social relationships and health

In the four studies mentioned here, scientists tracked thousands of people from their youth to old age in order to determine the impacts of social interactions on health. In order to check social connections the researchers asked questions regarding the structure and quantity of peoples relationships as well as the quality. The results revealed a distinct connection between the amount of social connections a person had in their youth and later years and their physical health.

Researchers found that social isolation increased the risk of inflammation in adolescence by the same amount as not exercising. Having a poor social life increased the risk of high blood pressure in the elderly even more than risk factors like diabetes.

In keeping with the current theme this article is another reason to start addressing your social anxiety now and to stop isolating yourself. Your life literally depends on it.

 

A life of missed opportunities

Leaving social anxiety untreated leads to a life of missed opportunities. It is my hope that by reading this article at least one person will take action and take steps toward treating their social anxiety. Taking the first step is definately the hardest. As mentioned in one of my previous posts it’s hard to beat social anxiety: https://www.fightingsocialanxiety.com/hard-beat-social-anxiety/.

What your missing out on

Creating relationships is one of the biggest things to miss out on. People who suffer from social anxiety go out of their way to avoid others. It is not because they hate people and want to avoid them. It is in response to avoiding discomfort. Feeling like your are being judged by others or worrying about what to say are common issues. The end result of this avoidance is not making friends or creating relationships.

At the core humans are social creatures. Those with social anxiety are at a huge disadvantage from the start. In order to make friends you need a certain amount of social skills. Most people with social anxiety lack social skills because they avoid social situations. The longer it is avoided the harder it seems to become. Even if they possess decent social skills the symptoms of social anxiety discussed here is a huge obstacle.

Romantic relationships

John is 22. College is almost over for him. He has never had a girlfriend, never kissed a girl, or even held a girl’s hand. He leads a quiet, lonely, and depressed life. Thoughts of his youth slipping away constantly clouds his mind. He also worries about working a 40 hour week for the next 40 years and being all alone.

Career opportunities

Charles has managed to land a decent job. He stays with the same company and works his butt off. He is offered a management position with more pay but he declines. In his mind he knows the position requires a significant increase in social interaction and more time in front of others in the “spotlight”. While he has the technical skills for the position he is worried he will fail miserably managing others or screw up a presentation or meeting with the higher ups.

The time to act is now

The stories of John and Charles highlight only two of the many things people with social anxiety miss out on. Don’t keep putting things off. “I’ll do it tomorrow” could turn out to be several years down the road. The most common treatments for social anxiety are cognitive behavioral therapy and prescription or natural remedies. If you want to read about something that helped me then click here.

Treating anxiety and depression with NAC

N-A-C, N-acetylcysteine, has a profound effect on depression and anxiety. It boosts levels of glutathione in the body. In other words it is a very powerful liver detoxifier. Mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety have been linked to have been caused by free radical damage instead of low serotonin or “chemical imbalances”.

The effects are real

Numerous studies have shown that NAC is a useful agent in the treatment of psychiatric disorders as discussed here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3044191/. It has been clinically proven to help treat symptoms of depression and anxiety. A double blind randomized placebo-controlled trial can be found here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18534556.

Why does NAC work?

Acetylcysteine is a glutathione precursor. In other words acetylcysteine is converted into glutathione. Glutathione is an antioxidant that is used by your liver to in effect detox your body.

So what? That is your liver

Research suggests that in some cases mental illness can be caused by toxins that your liver is unable to cleanse from your body in response to a glutathione deficiency. The cutting-edge of mental research is now focusing on the role toxins and oxidative stress play in mental illness.

NAC treat anxiety and depression
Liver and NAC
Why not just take glutathione?

Since NAC is a precursor to glutathione why not just take glutathione instead? While that seems like the logical thing to do it doesn’t work in practice. Evidence shows that NAC is more bioavailable and thus works better.

If its so great how come I’ve never heard of it?

If you do a quick search you will see how cheap NAC is. People who make money off of treating those with anxiety and depression have much more expensive treatments and aren’t likely to promote NAC.

Where can I buy it?

A quick search of “NAC” on Amazon comes up with plenty of results. I personally have had the best luck taking these which contain not only NAC but also phenibut which I wrote about here: https://www.fightingsocialanxiety.com/eliminate-social-anxiety/.

Social Anxiety and Depression

Social Anxiety often leads to Depression

depression and social anxiety

If having social anxiety isn’t bad enough imagine also suffering from depression. This is an unfortunate reality for most people who suffer from social anxiety. The lack of connections with others can lead to depression which sometimes kills any previous desire to interact with people. The withdrawal from social interactions in regards to SAD is due to fear of a negative outcome or judgement by others whereas with depression it is a withdrawal with respect to a lack of enjoyment.

What does depression feel like?

Depression is often characterized with feelings of worthlessness, despair, inferiority, incompetence, and hopelessness. People with depression often think to themselves: “I don’t deserve to be here”, “it doesn’t matter what I do”, “what’s the point of trying”, and “things will never get better”. The persistent feeling of sadness is often paired with loss of interest in activities and may include changes in sleep, appetite, energy level, or concentration.

Why hitting rock bottom can be a good thing

Adding depression on top of social anxiety makes life a lot more miserable. The only good thing is that it can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. It can make someones life so miserable that it forces them to finally seek treatment. Unfortunately 36% of people who suffer from social anxiety disorder report symptoms for 10 or more years before seeking treatment. Due to the inherit nature of SAD it is probably one of the toughest things to seek treatment for as discussed here. It is not uncommon for those who suffer from social anxiety disorder to also suffer from depression or the other way around. In fact nearly half of people diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Those looking to get a handle on their social anxiety can look into this method.

Social Anxiety Symptoms – Top 50 List

social anxiety symptoms
Do I have anxiety?

Social anxiety impacts people emotionally, physically, and behaviorally. Not everyone experiences it the same way. Below is the most comprehensive top 50 list of symptoms of social anxiety.

  1. Not taking part in and avoiding situations where you are or might be the center of attention
  2. Heart beating rapidly while speaking or in anticipation of having to speak in front of others
  3. Expecting the worst possible outcome from a social situation
  4. Avoidance of doing things or speaking to others in fear of embarrassment
  5. Intense fear of interacting or talking with strangers
  6. Concern that you will offend others
  7. Having a constant fear of being judged by people
  8. Blushing while speaking
  9. Irrational anxiety and fear in anticipation of activity or event
  10. Taking time after each social interaction to analyze your performance and the perceived flaws in your interaction
  11. Trying to think of the best thing to say or respond and then not saying anything
  12. Sweating profusely while talking or in anticipation of speaking
  13. Fear of making a bad first impression when being introduced to someone new
  14. Being much more anxious when meeting or speaking to important people or authority figures
  15. Having trouble looking people in the eyes or maintaining eye contact
  16. Shaking when presenting or talking
  17. Feeling of being watched or judged when out in public even when not in center of attention
  18. Fear of others noticing you look anxious
  19. Dizziness or lightheadedness
  20. Feeling that what you say isn’t good enough and that you will be criticized or judged
  21. Avoiding phone calls in public
  22. “Out-of-body” sensation
  23. Not wanting to get up early to leave classroom or office since you will be the center of attention when leaving or asking to leave
  24. Avoiding parties due to anxiety
  25. Not wanting to eat in front of others
  26. Shaky, stuttering, or different pitch voice when speaking
  27. Trembling hands
  28. Sudden or strong urge to escape from social situations
  29. Overly concerned about what people think
  30. Immediately thinking that poor or failed social interactions are your fault instead of the other persons
  31. Trouble falling to sleep because of worry about event the next day
  32. Running through every scenario of possibly failing in your head
  33. Thinking others are talking negatively about or about your anxiety when you can’t hear them
  34. Avoiding looking at others
  35. Excessive swallowing
  36. Cancelling meeting or plans or making excuses why you can’t go to avoid anxiety
  37. Walking the long way around to avoid people from seeing you
  38. Nausea or upset stomach in interactions
  39. Intense fear of situations with unknown people
  40. Worried about being humiliated
  41. Hating your voice or the way that you are talking
  42. Being extremely sensitive to teasing or criticism
  43. Negative self talk, always putting yourself down
  44. Poor social skills
  45. Mind going blank
  46. Poor comprehension of what someone has said since you are so focused on how you will reply or what you will say
  47. Feeling physically drained and tired after social interactions
  48. “Mind reading”, thinking that the other person is judging or thinking negatively of you
  49. Trying to blend in and not be noticed
  50. Excessive anxiety and self-consciousness in normal everyday social situations

Why it’s so hard to beat social anxiety

Social anxiety is hard to beat for numerous reasons. First and foremost someone suffering from social anxiety may not even know that it is a diagnosable mental illness. When you are always surrounded by people who talk effortlessly about seemingly anything you end up thinking its just yourself who seems to be introverted or stuck inside your head. It’s impossible to diagnose and treat something you don’t know exists.

fight social anxiety

Knowing your enemy is half the problem

Once you discover that social anxiety is a thing it is common to keep it a secret and not tell anyone. Part of the reason is that you don’t wont people to look at you differently or that they simply wouldn’t understand or think that you are weak and that you should “just get over it”. Not telling anyone includes not seeking professional help. Common thoughts are what if they don’t understand or if my doctor just thinks that I’m just trying to get prescription drugs. On the other side of the coin is the thought that once diagnosed you are “in the system”. Something on public record that you can’t erase. Who all will find out about this? The worst case is seeking treatment and simply being dismissed or turned away by a “professional”. That is why it is always best to seek treatment from someone who specializes in social anxiety (social phobia).

What treatment is best for you?

Only you can find the answer to this question. People respond to treatments differently. If you want to tough it out on your own you can find something like this as mentioned here to temporarily kill your anxiety and use that time build up your social experiences and confidence. It would be best to combine the above with cognitive behavioral therapy. You owe it to yourself to fight social anxiety and to keep trying new things until you find something that works and not give up. It will be worth it in the end.

What is Social Anxiety?

AnxietySocial anxiety is a chronic mental health condition where interactions with others cause irrational feelings of being negatively evaluated or judged, self-consciousness,  worry about embarrassment or humiliation, or concern about offending others. As with other mental health issues everyone has slightly different symptoms and thought processes. For some people their mind just goes completely blank in a social situation due to anxiety thus compounding the problem. Social anxiety causes you to overthink every conversion, thinking what is the best thing to say, then thinking that you are thinking too long for the response and eventually how you never contributed to the conversion or what you should have said after the fact.

Avoidance

The stress and discomfort involved in social interactions leads to avoiding them altogether. Other people sometimes attribute your avoiding them as a slight, thinking your too good for them, or that you don’t like them which is just not the case. If you could just tell them maybe they would understand and give you some slack. Somewhere along the line it became a secret so you know you can’t share it with anybody. The fear of others finding out about your social anxiety and the chance of them not understanding or rejecting you doesn’t seem worth the risk.

Who Does it Impact?

It is not just you. Millions of people suffer from social anxiety. It is the third largest psychological problem in the United States alone.

“Just get over it”

People without social anxiety give useless advice such as “Just get over it”, “yeah eventually I came out of my shell you’ll get there”, “we all get nervous sometimes”, “just be yourself” or “don’t worry what others think”. While they may have good intentions they are not doing any help and have no idea what it is like to live with social anxiety. Fortunately there are well documented treatments available.

 Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy has been shown to be one of the best treatments for social anxiety. The techniques used help to produce long-lasting, permanent relief from anxiety. As discussed in my previous post, years and years of sitting behind a computer complaining about your problems is not going to help you get better. Socially anxious people who analyze and keep going over their problems end up making their anxiety worse. If a person is tired of living a sub-par life with crippling anxiety then sticking to a comprehensive cognitive-behavioral treatment plan can lessen and virtually eliminate anxiety and make life more worth living.

Medication

There are too many medications, herbs, pills, or natural remedies to list that claim to treat social anxiety. I can only personally recommend what has worked for me which is red monkey, the main ingredient being Phenibut, which I discuss here. Unfortunately medication only relieves your anxiety until it wears off whereas cognitive-behavioral therapy will help you in the long run.

How Support Forums can be Harmful

Online support forums can be a great source of help but can be very detrimental to your personal growth. When I first found an online forum for social anxiety I was addicted to getting on there every day. It was great to find and talk to other people who were experiencing the same thing as me. The main problem I faced was that I spent about two years on there browsing, posting, and accepting my social anxiety.

aimless support forum browsing

Looking back now I wish I would have spent more time on facing and overcoming my social anxiety instead. I could have spent that time on Cognitive behavioral therapy or found something like this sooner to temporarily get rid of my social anxiety. While I can’t turn back time I can warn others and maybe save someone else time. Procrastination is a dangerous thing, don’t put anything off to the tomorrow that may never come, act now.

One particularly troubling thing I saw was people being criticized for trying to help others. Trying to get someone out of there comfort zone for instance could lead to a harsh rebuttal. A lot of people tell white lies to help others feel good about themselves. It is really a trade off between temporary and long term happiness. The truth while it may sting in the moment will help you in the long term in life.

Eliminate your social anxiety

Social anxiety is the worst. It feels like I’ve been incarcerated for years. Not in prison, but in my mind for quite some time. The feeling of being constantly judged and thinking people are talking about you behind your back. Awkward conversations, feeling like an alien, mind going blank from anxiety, always trying to think of the best thing to say, the physical drain from being social all made it an easy choice to stay at home, a safe haven from the public.

I wanted to work on my anxiety but would always procrastinate and tell myself that I would do it the next day. Days turned to weeks, weeks to months, and months to years, eventually my comfortable existence was no more. The isolation and accompanying depression became too painful. As much as I wanted to avoid people to not face my anxiety I also wanted friends and to be normal like everyone else. I had to act and stop procrastinating. It was time for me to begin my fight against social anxiety.

At first I didn’t even know social anxiety was actually a disorder, a mental health condition. After a few Google searches I learned I wasn’t alone. It wasn’t just a few other people suffering the same as me. I found forums with thousands of members. With all these people I knew at least one of them had to have found a cure… right?

To my surprise there wasn’t a single treatment… it seemed like there were hundreds. Different people were stating that different things helped them. In other words one treatment might work perfectly for one person but do nothing for someone else. So naturally I started trying these treatments, one after another, after another… I tried a ton of things to no avail and was getting ready to give up when I found it, the silver bullet…

Kill your anxiety with Phenibut

Phenibut, contracted from β-phenyl-γ-aminobutyric acid, is a central depressant and analog of the inhibitory neurotransmitter γ-aminobutyric acid, or a GABA analogue. What it is was didn’t really matter to me. I just knew it worked… really good. After taking phenibut for the first time I felt what it was like to be anxiety free. No longer did I try to avoid people but I felt like being social, joining in conversations, and talking effortlessly with complete mental clarity. It wasn’t just the social aspect either there was an extreme calmness within me that I had never felt before, a genuine euphoria along with it, and music sounded amazing. Things that would normally phase or anger me literally had no effect. Everything could be going wrong for me at that moment but I could still smile and not be worried about a thing. Unfortunately as with all great things, it came to an end.

For me personally the effects of taking Phenibut only lasted a few hours. The other bad thing was I couldn’t take it every day, especially back to back, or I would build up a tolerance and have to quit cold turkey for a while to feel the effects again. Now a days I only use it once or twice a week. It is perfect for killing your anxiety if you’re about to go in for a job interview, a date, a meeting or anything else that would normally cause your anxiety to skyrocket.

If you wish to try Phenibut I would highly recommend the red supplements brand red monkey which you can get by clicking here or on the picture below. It comes in capsules so you don’t have buy the powder and worry about measuring your doses. I have tried other brands but they don’t seem nearly as potent and some have literally no effect. I have the best success when I take it in the morning right after waking up on an empty stomach. It complements caffeine very nicely. I have a 16 oz 0 calorie Monster Energy drink with it. Normally I would get caffeine jitters from drinking it but Phenibut seems to cancel it out for me. It’s best to always start with the lowest possible dose and work your way up if you don’t feel the effects. Just don’t go up too high. Phenibut can be used as a sleep aid in doses of 4 grams. I have gotten some of the best nights sleep after taking higher doses.

anxiety pills, anti anxiety medication, medication for anxiety

 

 

 

 

 

 

I really hope that Phenibut reduces or completely eliminates your anxiety and can help you in the capacity that it has helped me. It’s not the end all be all but is definitely something to add to your arsenal in your fight against social anxiety.