This Article is About
social anxiety disorder
mental anguish
anti depressants
depressive disorder
human behaviour
extreme cases
panic attacks
medical conditions
Is There A Valid Case For Using Medicine For Shyness?
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Another day and another story about anti-depressants in the press. Any stories involving anti-depressants always evoke some very strong feelings. There are generally two types of stories. One is the rise in the numbers of people suffering from some sort of depressive disorder who have been prescribed anti-depressants. The implication always seems to be that many of these people shouldn’t be taking them. The second type of story that seems to be emerging more often in recent times is the rise in the use of anti-depressants to treat other medical conditions such as the menopause.

Now the government has decided to order a review of which treatments are suitable for anyone with ‘social anxiety disorder’ (acute shyness). Social anxiety disorder is generally diagnosed in individuals who find themselves terrified of standing up and speaking in public, or have difficulty in talking to strangers or attending events where there are lots of people. It’s not just the fear that afflicts sufferers, they can also experience a variety of physical symptoms such as blushing and sweating and in more extreme cases panic attacks.

Now according to NICE (The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence), who have been asked to head up the government review, as many as 1 in 8 people will suffer social anxiety disorder in their lifetime. This sounds an awful lot of people to me and I would love to know what they base these figures on. I share the concern of some experts who think that some doctors and pharmaceutical companies are trying to ‘medicalise’ conditions that should be seen as part of normal human behaviour.

Don’t think I am trying to make light of anyone who suffers from the condition because I’m not. Chronic and acute shyness, whether mild or severe can without a doubt have a debilitating effect on someone’s life. It isn’t just the mental anguish caused by the fear or the embarrassment of physical symptoms, that affect the sufferer. It is the wider-reaching consequences such as the loss of social interactions and/or missed career opportunities that can hurt someone so much.

Even if as a result of the review NICE do recommend that anti-depressants are suitable to use for some people that are diagnosed with social anxiety disorder, I hope that they will recommend to clinicians that drugs should be used as a last resort. Some people favour cognitive behaviour therapy, but with long waiting lists on the NHS for these experts, I worry that tablets may become a first choice.

NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) is one alternative that works well for people with conditions such as shyness. And for those that experience milder symptoms there are a range of techniques that they can learn and practice, which will help to minimise or banish the symptoms .

What would you do to overcome your shyness?

Street Talk

Caleb R.  

Nice article, I feel anti-depressants deal more with treating the symptoms than the cause. NLP is a great way to find out what is actually causing the problem and shifting your focus to overcome it. Nice article

  about 9 years ago

Thanks Caleb - glad you enjoyed it. Being an NLP Practioner myself - I am definitely in favour of that route before resorting to tablets.

  about 9 years ago
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