Hi there, I am a 21 year old post-grad law student with social anxiety
which emerged earlier this year after a particularly stressful period of me trying to get a job (which I did, thankfully!). What this did however, was give me anxiety when I speak to a group of people - be it at work, or socially. My heart starts pounding and I start shaking uncontrollably on the face and legs. It is a nightmare and has significantly interfered with my life. The biggest shame is I am an incredibly outgoing personality (always been) so this change is literally the worst thing that has ever happened to me.
I went to my GP and she prescribed me with propranolol 40 mg as and when needed. As I am doing my qualification (i.e. one-year post-grad law diploma) at the moment and this involves loads of everyday mini presentations in front of my future colleagues (peers or a tiny bit older usually), I found that it helps me if I took 20 mg in the morning daily. I would break the 40 mg pill in half. If I had an extra social event in the evening, I would take another 20 before that too (but this would not happen more than 3 times a week). Also, on days when we have big events in the law firm and I have been staying home the whole day (hence, haven't taken my morning dose), I go ahead and take 40 mg altogether in one single dose an hour before the stressful big event. On days like Sundays when I do not usually leave the house, I do not take any (I give myself a day off).
I went back to my GP and although I told her it helps me to do this as it eases my anxiety and I don't have to live in fear any longer, she said the specific clinic is not a big fan of prescribing propranolol for daily usage and that it is only for situational anxiety. She went on to recommend me to take Zoloft which I have not started or planning to start as I am not suffering from depression of any kind and the side effects are just awful. In all honesty, if I am to be taking medication every day, I would rather this was a beta blocker
as opposed to an unnecessary anti-depressant.
Propranolol also helps me immensely with my palpitations that have been an absolute nightmare during this year. I used to get maybe 3 palpitation 'events' a day. Now, after I started taking propranolol daily those have stopped - with the exception of maybe one very minimal event at night (on days when I have not taken a night dose as I am staying in) which ends after a while.
I have read in plenty of medical websites that propranolol is a very safe drug and I still use it daily without the 'sickness' side effects. I have been trying so many different things to overcome my social anxiety (like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy which did not work, or Magnesium supplements) without the success of Propranolol. I work out a lot (I never take an evening dose when I do work out) and I am pretty terrified as I do not hear my heart in the way I used to when I was working out in the past. Is there anything you would like to advise me on re: propranolol, any advice when I work out, or any side effects for long term use. My GP is aware I use it daily but I am unsure why she is against actually prescribing me to use it every day - instead she keeps prescribing to use it 'as needed'. Is there a reason for this? Propranolol has helped me so much (I have been taking it daily for 10 days now). My life has completely transformed. Advice please! I don't want to be doing anything dangerous! Please!
Thank you so much in advance.