Can Lsd be used as a treatment for social anxiety?

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This post answers: Can Lsd be used as a treatment for social anxiety? How does Lsd affect social behavior? How does Lsd work in social anxiety? What is Lsd? What is social anxiety? What are some symptoms of social anxiety? How is the brain involved in social anxiety? How to manage social anxiety using self-help techniques? How to manage social anxiety using other methods?

Can Lsd be used as a treatment for social anxiety?

There is currently no broader consensus among scientists and doctors regarding the use of Lsd as psychotropic medication for social anxiety disorder. 

Currently, they are saying that we need to wait until further experimental studies on humans reveal the effectiveness of Lsd in social anxiety. Lsd is currently considered a schedule II drug.

Before it can be used as a medical treatment, it has to at least become a schedule II drug. Apart from that, currently, there are very few clinical trials on Lsd’s role in social anxiety. So, currently, Lsd cannot be prescribed as a treatment for social anxiety disorder.

How does Lsd affect social behavior?

A 2021 study by Danilo De Gregorio and his colleagues, published in PNAS, shows that Lsd plays a very positive role in promoting and enhancing social behavior. 

The researchers say that after two years of testing Lsd on lab animals, they found that it had a very strong effect on social behavior when administered in low doses on lab mice.

How does Lsd work in social anxiety?

The brain region involved in social behavior is known as the medial prefrontal cortex. It contains mTOR protein and AMPA synapses. 

People with sociability problems, such as people with social anxiety and autism spectrum disorders, show impaired functioning in mTOR protein, 5-HT2A receptors, and AMPA synapses. What Lsd does is that it enhance these synapses and proteins. 

By enhancing the activity of these synapses and proteins in the brain, they enhance prosocial behavior. Research on other substances such as oxytocin already suggests that these synapses, receptors, and proteins are involved in the enhancement of prosocial behavior.

What is Lsd?

Lsd, abbreviated as lysergic acid diethylamide, is a very powerful psychedelic. Studies have shown that Lsd may have positive effects on people who have social anxiety. Lsd is known to strengthen connections between people. 

The reason why Lsd may be good for people with social anxiety is that it enhances trust, compassion, and empathy in people. Current research suggests that Lsd may be a possible treatment for social anxiety and related disorders.

What is social anxiety?

Social anxiety refers to the inability to socialize due to extensive fear of being observed. People with social anxiety cannot socialize because they fear other people may judge them. 

They sometimes fear social interactions so much that they stop leaving their home. At the core of their social anxiety is the fear of embarrassment. They get extremely uncomfortable around people in situations when they are observing them.

Everybody feels a little anxious around strangers. However, in people with social anxiety, such fears and worries are excessively high. 

People with social anxiety do not have any communication issues. The communicational aspects of their brains are perfectly fine. What they find hard is initiating conversations and making eye contact, especially with strangers.

What are some symptoms of social anxiety?

Some of the cognitive, physical, and behavioral symptoms of social anxiety are:

  • Fear of unfamiliar people and situations
  • Excessive fear of being observed and judged by unfamiliar people
  • Worrying about humiliation and embarrassment
  • Excessive worry that other people might observe their nervousness and anxiety
  • Blushing
  • Excessive sweating regardless of environmental temperature
  • Increased heartbeat
  • Trembling hands
  • Muscle tension
  • Avoidance of unfamiliar people and situation
  • Avoidance of activities that involve social interaction
  • Leaving social gathering

How is the brain involved in social anxiety?

People with social anxiety have a malfunctioning amygdala. Studies show that the amygdala shows hyperactivity when someone perceives a threatening situation. This is exactly what happens in social anxiety.

People with social anxiety perceive other people as threatening. They fear that they might embarrass or judge them. This activates their flight-or-fight response. It is important to note here that hyperactivity in the amygdala in response to a threatening stimulus is normal.

It is abnormal is people with social anxiety only because the hyperactivity is out of proportion. Apart from that, in social anxiety, the perceived fear is highly exaggerated. Sometimes, people with social anxiety show excessive physiological and psychological discomfort by merely imagining a social situation.

That’s why the fear of social interactions in social anxiety is considered an irrational fear. The biological symptoms of social anxiety are highly related to the amygdala. Hyperactivity in the amygdala causes an increase in heartbeat, sweating, muscle tension, and hyperglycemia. 

In social anxiety disorder, the prefrontal cortex is also involved. It not only initiates activity in the amygdala, it excessively amplifies it. That’s why social anxiety is considered both a cognitive-behavioral and neurological abnormality. 

 How to manage social anxiety using self-help techniques?

Lifestyle changes

Apart from therapy and medication what works best to manage social anxiety is certain lifestyle changes. These may include:

  •  Regular exercises
  •  Having a balanced diet,
  •  Socializing and talking to people about their anxiety,
  •  Journal writing to express and understand one’s feelings and
  • Avoiding alcohol or drugs.

Take control of your breathing

It is normal for anxiety to bring about changes in your body, for instance, increased breathing. these changes often make an individual feel uncomfortable.

One can take control of this discomfort by carrying out a few simple steps such as holding one’s breath for two seconds and slowly letting it out through their mouth.

Repeating this step several times until one feels relaxed. This is most effective when one sits down in a comfortable position with their back straight.

 

Carry out progressive muscle relaxation

Research indicates that certain activities such as walking, or jogging can help in killing anxiety. Another effective technique to kill anxiety is progressive muscle relaxation.

Progressive muscle relaxation involves flexing and releasing a group of muscles in one’s body which helps to maintain their attention on the feelings of this contraction and relaxation.

Prepare ahead of situations

It is best advised that people who experience social anxiety must plan ahead of these situations that make them nervous to increase their confidence.

Start small

to kill social anxiety people must start small. In that individuals must avoid big social situations and start with the situation that they are compatible with.

For instance, one can start by going for lunch with friends and family members rather than with a set of individuals that they’re not familiar or confident with.

Push back negative thoughts

One very effective way to kill social anxiety is to focus and work on one’s negative thoughts actively.

Think about the negative thoughts that one has about a particular situation and write them down. Following which the person is required to write down positive thoughts that challenge the negative ones.

Sensory awareness

One’s senses can help them calm down while they feel anxious in any situation. For some people trying to look at photographs that give them a sense of happiness or using a particular scent that can help to distract them from the negative thoughts and reconnect with more positive ones can help to kill the anxiety at the moment.

How to manage social anxiety using other methods?

Like other physical conditions, even social anxiety has different approaches for its management and treatment. Some people might only need a single type of treatment while others might require a combination of approaches.

Some of the ways to manage or treat social anxiety disorders are:

Cognitive-behavioural therapy

Cognitive-behavioural therapy helps an individual to control their anxiety by using strategies like relaxation and breathing. It works on the principles of replacing negative thoughts with positive ones.

Exposure therapy

Exposure therapy is a kind of therapy in which an individual is exposed to a particular situation that they usually fear in a graded manner.

It usually starts with exposing the individual to a situation that is least triggering when the individual gets comfortable with this situation introduced or exposed to them with each session individuals become comfortable with a real-life situation that is otherwise anxiety-provoking.

Group therapy

As the name suggests group therapy usually involves two or more individuals who are experiencing similar symptoms and problems.

It is based on the principle that when an individual interacts with other people who are suffering from the same condition or fears they might not feel left alone or isolated.

This kind of therapy also helps in developing and maintaining social skills or techniques to interact with people in other social settings.

 Prescribed medication

Social anxiety can also be treated with the help of medication prescribed by a health professional. There are different types of anxiety medications each with its benefits and side effects.

Online therapy 

Individuals with social anxiety can also seek therapy online. This would involve interacting with the therapist one-on-one over an audio or video call. 

Some individuals with social anxiety might be more comfortable seeking help through this mode than others while in a different case some might prefer face-to-face therapy sessions. 

Conclusion

Social anxiety refers to the inability to interact with people and socializes due to the fear that people may judge or embarrass you. It is related to hyperactivity in the amygdala. Some research suggests that Lsd may be a good choice of treatment for social anxiety disorder because it enhances social behavior. However, there is currently not enough research available on the subject to make Lsd a legal prescription for social anxiety disorder.

Frequently asked questions: Can Lsd be used as a treatment for social anxiety?

Is it legal to prescribe Lsd as a treatment for social anxiety in the united states?

Currently, Lsd is considered a schedule 1 substance in the united states and is illegal.

What are some negative effects of Lsd?

Lsd causes hallucinations and can trigger panic attacks, and cause flashbacks.

Is Lsd addictive?

Lsd has a high potential for abuse, but most studies indicate that it is not addictive.

Citations:

https://news.sky.com/story/Lsd-breakthrough-could-enable-treatment-for-autism-and-social-anxiety-research-finds-12200193
https://www.inverse.com/mind-body/what-Lsd-does-to-the-brain-explained
https://www.pnas.org/content/118/5/e2020705118
https://www.verywellmind.com/social-anxiety-disorder-4157220

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