Social anxiety is a fairly common disorder that has a huge impact on a person’s ability to go about their daily lives. Those who suffer from it will experience extreme fear, stress, worry, and embarrassment just thinking about being around other people. It can make it difficult to leave the house, whether it’s for a social function like a party or gathering or even just to go to work every day; and working on social anxiety with ketamine. Psychological symptoms may include:
- Feelings of shame
- Lasting embarrassment
- Feeling rejected by others and yourself
- Feeling inadequate
- Lowered self-esteem
- Social phobias
Psychological symptoms aren’t all that people with social anxiety disorder suffer from, though. For many, it becomes a very real, very crippling physical experience. Physical social anxiety symptoms can include or lead to:
- Panic attacks
- Nausea and vomiting
- Major depression
- Uncomfortable sweating
- Increased heart rate
- Greater risk for heart disease
- Greater risk for alcoholism
These symptoms are often severely damaging to the patient’s ability to function in daily life. Even mundane tasks such as going to the grocery store, getting a haircut, or going to work can be a painful and stressful struggle. But those suffering from social anxiety disorder have to fight these battles on a regular basis in order to survive, so what can be done to alleviate their pain? What weapons can they be equipped with in order to win those battles?
What is the Best Treatment for Social Anxiety Disorder?
With so many horrible symptoms and side effects of the disorder itself, one would expect some kind of reliable treatment for social anxiety. However, only 50%-66% of patients undergoing treatment from SSRIs and therapy show any kind of relief. SSRIs are usually the first line of defense when it comes to anxiety disorders, as they’re non-addictive and can be used long-term. This is good, considering they take up to 6 full weeks of uninterrupted treatment to start working, which means 6 additional weeks of emotional, mental, and even physical pain for the patient.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is another common treatment and helps by identifying negative patterns of thought that lead to self-deprecating behaviors. Once identified, the therapist will work with the patient to change the automatic thought process and encourage the patient to have healthier, more positive responses to social stimuli. However, when these treatments don’t work, many patients will look to self-medicate with substances like alcohol to lower their own inhibitions, and this is a very dangerous path.
Thankfully, there’s a much better, more reliable, and more immediate treatment that’s becoming more commonly used for treatment-resistant patients; intravenous ketamine infusion.
Does Ketamine Soothe Social Anxiety?
Ketamine is a medication that was originally used as a general anesthetic. However, it’s been discovered that it can be used in much smaller concentrations as an effective treatment for a wide range of ailments, including:
- Social anxiety disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- General anxiety disorder
Ketamine clinics will specifically tailor a treatment plan for your needs, and patients have seen significant improvement as quickly as after the first round of ketamine treatment. Patients experienced reduced anxiety for as long as four weeks after their treatment, by which point it was time for the next!
How Will Ketamine Help My Social Anxiety?
Ketamine is an NMDA receptor inhibitor, which helps regulate the amount of glutamate formed within the brain. Glutamate is a key factor in forming brain synapses and is necessary for regular brain function. However, in excess, this amino acid can lead to overstimulation, stress, anxiety, and other unpleasant and damaging sensations. Ketamine effectively balances out the production of glutamate, allowing for immediate relief in patients.
In addition to this extremely direct effect on anxiety, ketamine has very few and very minor side effects, all of which are very short-term, fading as quickly as a few hours after treatment. Some such side effects may include disorientation, forgetfulness, and minor confusion.
Afterward, however, the patient experiences long-term reduced anxiety and social discomfort, allowing for a significant improvement in their quality of life. Patients report that their ability to participate in social events and gatherings dramatically improves, along with their general desire to engage in social activity. If you’ve suffered from social anxiety disorder and other treatments just haven’t been helpful, ask your doctor if ketamine therapy might be the right next step for you or schedule your consultation now.