How CBD can Help You Manage Social Anxiety!

Anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults in the United States, and it has been estimated that more than 1 in every 20 children and teens suffer from these disorders as well, though they are underdiagnosed.

Anxiety is a huge, debilitating issue for a lot of people, though it can range from mild to severe. It affects daily life, relationships, work, and even physical health.

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What are Anxiety Disorders?

Anxiety is an emotion that, when it occurs temporarily and doesn’t affect daily life and basic functions, it doesn’t constitute a significant issue or a mental health condition. However, when the anxiety becomes chronic and doesn’t respond to what the person is going through, or it becomes disproportionate, it becomes an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety is defined by the American Psychological Association (APA) as “an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure.” It is clearly something that affects every aspect of our health if it becomes prolonged.

Anxiety disorders are a mental health condition that affects a staggering amount of people to different degrees. It is characterized by excessive nervousness, fear, tension, apprehension, worry, guilt, and excessive overthinking; and is often accompanied by insomnia, gastrointestinal issues and depression.

The disorder itself alters the way the sufferer processes emotions, events, and the way they behave in response to them. But it also causes physical symptoms, like gastrointestinal issues, IBS, excessive muscle tension, headaches, tachicardia, or even generalized pain in joints and muscles, interfering with life in a significant way, even causing some adults to lose their jobs, or children and teens to have trouble in school.  

Anxiety disorders include, among others, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Panic Disorder, and acute stress disorder, but they have their own categories due to their specific causes and symptoms.

Symptoms to look out for:

  • Uncontrollable worry
  • Having a hard time focusing
  • Feeling restless
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Constant gastrointestinal issues when these feelings are present

Social Anxiety

Social Anxiety is a specific type of anxiety; it is a mental health condition characterized by the same general symptoms of general anxiety disorders, but their occurrence is particularly triggered when the person is exposed to social situations, in large groups, and when the people are strangers.

It causes feelings of fear and the sensation of being judged or evaluated negatively. It causes people to feel inferior, “not good enough”, excessive self-consciousness, mild paranoia, embarrassment, and irritation.

People who suffer from generalized anxiety disorders often suffer from social anxiety. Things like meeting new people, talking on the phone with strangers, making a presentation in front of others, or even walking along a crowded street can cause them to feel out of breath, tense and excessively alert.

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Treatment for Anxiety

Sadly, only 36.9% of anxiety sufferers receive treatment. Which is partly because of the stigma behind mental illness and seeking professional help; though another cause could be attributed to the idea that this type of mental illness doesn’t deserve a medical treatment. A lot of people believe that anxiety is not “important” enough to justify a follow up, therapy, medication, or any type of effort directed towards its improvement.

However, a well treated anxiety disorder has a good prognosis, and it generally allows people to lead more comfortable, productive lives, and maintain healthy social and professional relationships.

Treatment varies from person to person, depending on the individual situation and level of anxiety. It usually involves:

  • Mindfulness techniques, like meditation and yoga, which help the person better manage their symptoms and reduce levels of worry and tension.
  • Psychotherapy, which a lot of people fear for social reasons. However, therapy is a very effective way of developing consciousness, and beginning the healing process needed to lessen the effects of the condition step by step.
  • Exercise, and general physical activity is an amazing way of letting out some steam and allowing the emotional and physical energy to flow. It has been shown to reduce stress, worry, and improves the mood, lowering levels of anxiety.
  • Anxiolytic medication, like Ativan, is sometimes prescribed to patients who have severe anxiety disorders. However it is better to avoid it when unnecessary, and, if possible, use it only when an anxiety attack is occuring. Anxiolytic medication has significant side effects which are better avoided, such as drowsiness, blurred vision, loss of coordination, forgetfulness, nausea, and lack of concentration.
  • Changes in diet are also recommended. Most doctors will advise their patients to stop drinking coffee, or to switch to decaf, since caffeine is a stimulant and increases anxiety in those who already suffer from it. Natural, unprocessed foods are also recommended, and sugar should be cut down, since it affects mood.

How CBD can help you manage social anxiety…

Anxiety disorders are the most common type of mental illness in the world, and they are highly undertreated. Though, on the other extreme, they are sometimes overtreated by using strong medication that causes other detrimental side effects and dependence.

In the past few years, scientists have been studying the therapeutic uses for CBD in people with debilitating cases of anxiety, including social anxiety, PTSD, and OCD. Cannabidiol has been observed to have anxiolytic properties, reduce stress, reduce muscle tension, and reduce tachycardia, which could occur during an anxiety episode.

People who have a hard time being outside, in social situations, or in places where there are a lot of strangers, usually find relief when using CBD. If taken 15 minutes before the exposure to the particularly dreaded social scenario, it will calm the nerves and relax tense muscles in a way that will, long-term, help the sufferer get used to going about their day without dreading the anxiety. In a way, it not only reduces symptoms, but re-trains the mind and body not to respond negatively to certain stimuli.

Autism, anxiety and CBD

Often, people who suffer from high functioning autism, formerly diagnosed as Aspberger’s, are expected to go about their day as anyone else would, but this particular form of autism, though mild, still produces a fair amount of anxiety, particularly social anxiety.

This causes people to find it particularly difficult to calmly function in daily social situations, like school or work.

Those who are constantly looking for ways to improve their daily life and manage their autism symptoms, have reported CBD supplements to be very useful and beneficial, particularly in moments of crisis, when nothing seems to make sense.

I hope this information was useful! If you have any experiences with anxiety disorders or CBD, share your story in the comments!

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