Social anxiety is something that affects millions of people around the world. You’ll know you have social anxiety when you find it difficult and scary to leave your home, or engage in social activities. The disorder affects far more people than you may have imagined, and it ranges in severity from very mild to extreme.
In this article, we take a look at social anxiety: its symptoms, causes, and common treatments. We examine the use of phenibut for social anxiety. Phenibut is a Nootropic substance developed to aid in maintaining a healthy mental state. Some people with social anxiety have also used Phenibut as a dietary supplement, you can read their experiences with it here.
What is social anxiety?
Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is defined as a persistent and overwhelming fear of social situations and being around people. It can be debilitating and scary. Social anxiety is one of the most common anxiety disorders there is.
Symptoms of social anxiety include being overly afraid of social situations. These can include the fear of:
- Meeting new people
- Being the center of attention
- Being teased or bullied
- Meeting important people
- Public places
However, the most prevalent symptom of social anxiety is a constant feeling of anxiety that does not go away. People with social anxiety often ‘just feel’ as though something will go wrong if they enter into public situations.
When these fears come true, people with social anxiety often experience physical, as well as psychological symptoms of discomfort. These symptoms include a racing heart, dry mouth, panic, trembling and difficulty swallowing.
Most social anxiety disorders involve a combination of a few social fears, rather than just one.
How is social anxiety caused?
The exact causes of social anxiety are still not fully understood by scientists. Possible causes of developing social anxiety include:
- Genetic factors – many people with anxiety disorders have a family history of anxiety
- Brain structure – it is thought that an overactive amygdala (a region of the brain that controls fear response) could be an underlying cause of many anxiety disorders
- Experience – the psychological causes of social anxiety include traumatic experiences and being around people who are anxious (anxious family)
A review of the environmental risk factors for social anxiety found a number of interesting potential risk factors. First of all, social anxiety is more prevalent in women than in men. Secondly, social anxiety seems to develop around mid to late adolescence and is more prevalent in low socioeconomic groups.
Thirdly, social anxiety has a very high comorbidity rate, which means that around 69% to 81% of people who suffer from social anxiety will also suffer from another chronic mental illness. Finally, there are a number of potential risk factors for social anxiety, and these include:
- Negative parenting practices (over-controlling, neglectfulness, insensitivity, social isolation, lack of warmth, and criticism)
- Over-controlling fathers
- Sibling hostility
Does social anxiety affect a lot of people?
A 2005 survey of over 43,000 adult American citizens measured the prevalence and associations of social anxiety disorder.
The face-to-face survey found that, over the previous 12 months, around 2.8% of the population reported having experienced symptoms of social anxiety. Around 5% of the population reported having being diagnosed with social anxiety at some point in their lifetime.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) estimates that around 15 million people (roughly 6.8% of the population) suffer from social anxiety in the United States. That’s a huge number of people!
If we assume that this statistic works through the entire world, then the global population of people with social anxiety disorder could be as high as around 476 million!
Traditional ways to help with social anxiety
According to qualified HelpGuide authors, there are a number of methods of help for social anxiety disorder. You can start by trying you to challenge your anxieties and fears on your own with the following list:
- Challenge your negative thoughts: Identify a negative thought (“I’m not good enough”), and try to understand where it is coming from, and challenge it with another question (“WHY am I not good enough?)
- In social situations, focus on others: Shifting your focus from yourself to others helps to reduce feelings of self-consciousness. Nobody can tell that you’re feeling anxious.
- Try some breathing techniques: Controlling your breath, and using a technique known as mindfulness meditation, can be incredibly beneficial in stressful situations.
- Face your fears: Avoiding social situations only deepens the hold of your anxiety disorder. It is recommended to challenge your fears one small step at a time.
- Build strong relationships: A good treatment method is to actively look for supportive social networks and groups
- Lifestyle changes: Limiting caffeine intake, avoiding excessive drinking, and quitting smoking can reduce your anxiety levels.
The next step is to see a psychologist and engage in cognitive-behavioral therapy. If the symptoms are very severe, a psychiatrist may prescribe some medication, including beta blockers, antidepressants, or benzodiazepines.
What is phenibut?
Phenibut is a neuroprotective and cognitive enhancing chemical that was developed in Russia for their astronautics program. It has mood boosting effects that allow you to function normally, potentially without the negative effects of anxiety.
Phenibut was designed for use in case of stressful situations where people needed to retain full function and mental capacities and was even included in Russian cosmonauts kits.
Read about the difference between Phenibut FAA and Phenibut HCl.
Phenibut acts in a very similar way to a brain chemical called GABA. GABA is responsible for regulating signals from your nervous system and is involved in creating feelings of calm and relaxation. Many tranquilizers and sedatives are based on GABA, including alcohol and benzodiazepines.
Can phenibut be used for social anxiety?
Russian scientists designed phenibut to potentially reduce the symptoms of anxiety, among other things. However, more tests and studies are needed to show that Phenibut can be used effectively for this. Phenibut is a great Nootropic dietary supplement, and many people claim that it makes them feel more sociable. Again, more studies are required.
Just getting out there and talking to people, whether you use phenibut or not while you do so, is a great idea! It helps to create a positive feedback system, where you gradually start becoming more and more comfortable in social situations.
A number studies have examined the effects of phenibut on anxiety, and preliminary studies have shown that it may have the potential to help reduce these feelings if developed further in future.  However, most of the information about how great phenibut is at helping with social anxiety comes from user reviews posted on the internet.
Below are two user’s reviews of the effects of phenibut for social anxiety:
“I've taken phenibut weekly for over 3 years. No more than 700mg in one dose once per week. I'm at a bit of a turning point with it at the moment…
Phenibut, for me, was a life saver regards social anxiety. I lived a hermetical existence for over ten years, then I was forced to socialize once a week and phenibut helped me a lot. I woke up full of radiance and ideas. I walked into social situations with not a hint of anxiety. In fact, I loved socializing. I loved talking to people, and I became quite a 'figure' in my group...”
- Velmwend, user review posted on Bluelight.org
Many people regard phenibut as a great way to help with social anxiety. In fact, it is so highly regarded by many that there is a thread about phenibut on the social anxiety support website. This is a review posted by a user on the Social Anxiety Support website:
I'm Danish so excuse my spelling and grammar.
I have tried Phenibut many times, and for me[,] it helps me a lot! If I take 500mg it only helps me a little but when I 1g of phenibut it helps me A lot, and I mean A LOT. but I’ve heard that it could be addictive in the long term and that’s why I only take it when I have to go out and do something (i stay at home a lot) then I take 1g and go shopping, go to doctor (talk about SAD), go visit friends and a lot more.
Kindly regards Mike.”
- Mike, severe social anxiety for 2 years
For more information about user’s reviews on phenibut for social anxiety, you can:
- Visit the Social Anxiety Support Phenibut forum
- Read through phenibut forums on Reddit.
- Visit Erowid.com.
Is phenibut safe to use?
Definitely! Phenibut is a very safe dietary supplement and calming Nootropic. You can use phenibut to help with social anxiety or any anxiety disorder. The recommended dosage of phenibut for social anxiety is around 500 – 2000 mg daily. You can break the dose into two to three separate servings. For more information about phenibut safety, read through our article here.
If you use phenibut continuously at high doses, it is possible that you may develop a tolerance. Developing a tolerance to phenibut can also lead to withdrawal symptoms when you stop. We recommend sticking to the suggested dosage and using cycling to prevent withdrawal and tolerance.
Cycling phenibut means that you take phenibut only once every two to three days. This gives your body a chance to eliminate the dose so that you won’t build a tolerance. The reason for this is that phenibut has a very long half-life. This means that it takes quite a long time for your body to eliminate phenibut.
WebMD, a common source for safety information of chemicals, states that Phenibut has not yet been studied in humans. There is not enough information to know whether phenibut is safe to use during pregnancy and breast feeding. Please consult your physician if you’d like to start a phenibut cycle and are pregnant, breast feeding, or using any prescription medication.
In conclusion, we see that social anxiety can range in its effects from mild to debilitating. It is a disorder that affects millions of people worldwide and is one of the most common anxiety disorders. There are a number of ways to treat social anxiety, most effective of which is cognitive behavioral therapy. This involves seeing a psychologist for months at a time and engaging in challenging methods of looking at the origins of anxious thought patterns.
A good dietary supplement that some people with social anxiety use is phenibut. We’ve looked at how it works and how some people attest to using phenibut for social anxiety, although there is not yet enough evidence to support these claims.
Although many people use Phenibut for anxiety and social anxiety, there is not enough evidence supporting Phenibut as a cure for any disease or illness. Our Phenibut is sold as a dietary supplement, with the potential to help reduce anxiety. If you have any underlying medical conditions, including mental health conditions, please see your physician or psychiatrist before using phenibut.
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 Based on a global population of 7 billion, 6.8% is 476 million.
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 “How good is phenibut ? i never tried it for social anxiety”, thread on BlueLight.org, available from http://www.bluelight.org/vb/threads/757280-how-good-is-phenibut-i-never-tried-it-for-social-anxiety, retrieved on August 2, 2016
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