Beta blockers can provide some benefits in lessening the distressing physical symptoms of social anxiety, such as pounding heart, shaking, sweaty palms, etc. It is possible that medication can even reduce some of the negative thoughts felt by anxiety sufferers, although this is not guaranteed. In some people, medication can ease depression as well as reducing anxiety.
Beta-Blockers Work by blocking the beta-adrenergic receptors or the receptors on the distal neurons that are activated by noradrenaline.
Beta-blockers can be used to treat some of the symptoms of social anxiety by blocking adrenaline receptors. One common beta-blocker is Inderal. The drugs can be taken about an hour before the anxiety producing event and their effects can last a couple of hours. However, some medications must be taken days at a time as they require time for their effects to build up.
There are of course limitations. Some evidence shows that beta-blockers work best with performance anxiety such as music recitals, public speaking and even test taking. They may be less effective at reducing anxiety producing thoughts.
People with certain conditions, such as asthmatics, diabetics and those with some forms of heart disease should not use beta-blockers.
Medication is not a cure for shyness or social anxiety. While I can reduce the symptoms of anxiety it cannot address the other problems are symptoms of shyness, such as lack of self-confidence, it can be costly and it must be taken regularly to see any benefit. If medication is taken, its best to use it in conjunction with some sort of therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy.
This article is intended to be a brief summary of beta-blockers. As with any medication, you should consult with your physician to find out what is the best course of action for you.