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Thread: Benzo and Propranolol for stage fright?

  1. #1

    Default Benzo and Propranolol for stage fright

    Hi,

    I have really bad stage fright and propranolol allows me to get through a presentation etc. without the shakes. Has anyone ever tried a very low dose benzo such as diazepam or clonazepam as well to reduce the fear before hand? Do they work? I have tried other techniques to calm myself before presenting but no joy.

    Thanks guys,


  2. #2
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    tinmuning has a reputation beyond reputetinmuning has a reputation beyond repute
    hi pete. usually 40mg of propranolol 45 minutes before performance or a presentation works for a lot of people. diazepam is also used for short-term anxiety periods but it also produces sleepiness so i'm afraid the side effect would do more harm than its benefits. if propranolol works for you well, then better stick to it. by the way another risk of diazepam is it's habit forming. good luck!

  3. Well, this response is about 2 years late but, for any one whos interested, for my school presentations i take 1mg of xanax to relieve my anxiety and it works wonders. It does have some effect on ones memory though.

    3 years late. still thought it was 2010 lulz

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    @PollismX: It's ok if you posted late in response to the thread starter. Bear in mind that the thread remains open for those who are interested in the same topic so they can get to read your response as well.

  5. #5
    Although I have no personal experience with using those medications for stage fright (I haven't found myself in a situation that would produce stage fright since I was in Middle School), I have incredibly bad anxiety problems, particularly social anxiety, & I'm certainly very familiar with both Propanolol & Benzos.
    Personally, Propanolol didn't really do much for me, but since it seems to be helping you a lot you might want to consider just using that & not adding any Benzos at all if you can't get a doctor to prescribe them to you &/or have a very addictive personality. That said, however, taking a "starter dose" of Ativan, Xanax, or Valium to combat your anticipatory anxiety before such events would almost certainly be very helpful to you, & the risk of addiction would be as minimal as possible.

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    I used to be on a very lose dose of propranolol and 0.5mg of ativan for panic disorder---I would get these terrible panic attacks. For those who don't know what a panic attack is like, it's a constellation of symptoms that is triggered by some sort of social anxiety. It could be a job interview or a speech delivered in class. Symptoms include flushing, sweating, sudden rapid heart beat, trouble breathing, trouble talking, tremors and shaking, the feeling of impending doom, the claustrophobic feeling that the room is closing in and the sudden and powerful urge to run out of the room and situation as soon as possible. It is an awful feeling. What propranolol does is keep your heart from racing, and reduces sweating. But it doesn't instill feelings of calm. That's why a benzodiazepine is so important. If I anticipate a situation where I expect a panic attack, I will take 20mg of atenelol (it's stronger than propranolol) and 10mg of valium about 15 minutes before the event. I used it to deliver a speech in class. I was still nervous, I still had rapid heart beat, my voice still shook, but I was able to function without tongue tying and/or running out of the room.

    It really upsets me that the doctors are reluctant to prescribe benzos to people with panic disorder who have comorbid substance abuse disorders. The benzos play a crucial role in maintaing feelings of calm, and the benefits far outweigh any dangers of addiction. They're only Schedule IV anyway, with the lowest abuse potential possible.
    Helpful noobsaibot Rated helpful

  7. #7
    When I first discovered beta-blockers I felt like my entire life was about to change, due to the fact that I CANNOT give public speeches and I am constantly asked to for church and stuff. I have yet to try them though, I finally found a good source and will be using them in combination with 1mg Xanax. Thank you @QVC1212 I wasnt aware atenelol is stronger than propranolol. My biggest problem is when I go up in front of people to give my speech I have a quivery voice that I cant control, hopefully this will be my solution.
    Noob S.

  8. I have always had a horrible problem giving speeches. In college I would drink a few beers before going up in class. I still went up there shaking with my tounge tied. Anymore feedback on the use of beta blockers for stage fright would be appreciated. I'm thinking about going back to school to get certified to teach. It would be very hard to do with my extreme phobia of public speaking!
    feeling good

  9. #9
    I read some information about beta blockers and learned that propanolol may take a few weeks to really kick in. I understood this as myself for example, I have never taken any beta blockers to help me with my fear of public speaking. I am currently taking xanax and working my way up to giving a speech soon, I am seriously considering beta blockers due to the fact that they are non habit-forming. But will I have to take them for a few weeks before they can really help me function? Any useful advice will be appreciated
    Noob S.

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    @noobsaibot Can you cite the source or link for the literature which suggests propranolol takes a while to kick in? Ordinarily, for blood pressure meds like atenelol, they can take a while to kick in. But propranolol is different. Its effect is immediate(meaning within 10 minutes before it starts working), according to the doctor that prescribed it to me. And it's taken on an as-needed basis, which means blood levels wouldn't have to build up for it to work.

    @makaveli25 when I was in college I'd use a mixture of mountain dew and some vodka before giving speeches. It worked perfectly!
    Last edited by QVC1212; 03-25-2011 at 07:26 PM.

  11. #11
    @QVC1212 Newport Beach Neurologists - Neurology - Newport Beach, CA - Beta Blockers in the Treatment of Migraine I read the following on this website:

    "DOSAGE

    Inderal is prescribed in milligram dosages of 60, 80, 120, 160, and occasionally even up to 240 mg. per day. Usually, the patient will be started on a low dosage of the drug to test the patient's response. Unfortunately, many physicians will abort treatment long before they have given the drug a chance to work. Inderal may take six to twelve weeks to be effective. Not only that, but the dosage may have to be increased as the weeks go by. One of the major reasons people are failures on preventative or prophylactic drugs is that they have not taken the medication long enough, nor have they taken it in a sufficient dosage. "


    In my case, I would very much prefer it to be effective immediately because I have some assignments that require public speaking that I have to take care of next month.
    As a matter of fact I already placed an order for 40mg propanolol @ generic4all.com but as with everything else I like to do my research and my question was raised when I came across this website.
    Helpful QVC1212 Rated helpful
    Noob S.

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    @noobsaibot Fascinating stuff. The implication of that is that my general practitioner did not fully understand the drug, that he understood the mechanism of action, but he had no idea that there was a lag period before it took effect. That's similar to the effects of antidepressants, which can take 2-4 weeks to build up in your system before they become effective.

    If it makes you feel any better, I was prescribed only 20mg of propranolol and it did absolutely nothing for me, but I did not give it a chance to build up in my system. However, I have been taking atenelol at 75mg daily for years and it does nothing for my panic disorder. Buspar was equally ineffective. Benzos work only. Unfortunately, I've been stigmatized as a "substance abuser" and will never get any meds that work again for anything, except my mood disorder and blood pressure.

    If I may ask, why did you order propranolol and not a benzodiazepine, which is the first-line treatment for panic disorder? Were you concerned about the risk of dependence or abuse? If so, that would be uncommon and counter to the prevailing inclinations of PR members. I applaud you.

    I have been taking benzos now inappropriately and with an expired prescription and can't get off them. My advice is to stay away from them, and give the propranolol a chance to work. If not, try an SSRI like prozac or paxil or lexapro or luvox or zoloft, and maybe combine it with buspar (buspirone).

  13. #13
    @QVC1212 sorry to hear that you were labeled that, "substance abuser" just sounds so negative. You're a very smart person, I've read your posts and they seem to be (most of the time) more informative than others. I even noticed on the main page of this website you are metioned as one of the all time top members with 63 helpful posts and for that I applaud YOU my friend

    Actually I have already been taking benzodiazepines (xanax) and you hit the nail right on the head, I am REALLY concerned about dependence. I have been dealing with panic attacks for a long time now and at my 24 years of age I was ignorant when it came to stuff like Benzos, SSRIs, and especially beta blockers. I always credit my mother for my being ignorant about these medications that can help me solve my issues, she noticed my panic disorder during my teen years and right away sent me to a phsycologist and had me taking herbal supplements like St. Johns Wort and 5-HTP. Well none of those things worked, I later dropped out of college and lost my job due to my panic disorder. So I did my homework and discovered xanax and it really helps, its like a miracle but its not something I want to depend on for the rest of my life. I understood my mother once I had experimented with benzodiazepines, she has the same panic disorder and severe depression and has been prescribed zoloft, paxil, atarax, xanax, and klonopin to this day. She didnt want her son to live the life that she does. But it is what it is and I have to keep moving forward, thank you for your advice I will definitely give propanolol a chance.
    Noob S.

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    @noobsaibot Thanks for the compliment! Originally I joined for sources, but now I enjoy the community aspect of it and helping other people, just like when I was a medic in the Army. I try to make my posts as informative as possible, and base it on empirical evidence, and cite my sources when possible. It's important to be able to discern a layman's opinion from fact-based literature. The difference could have fatal consequences. I worry about some of the posts on here, because they're so unequivocally wrong and counter to the published literature. Like I saw someone post about trouble breathing earlier, and I wish I could have called that guy and told him to get to an urgent care clinic or ER immediately because that's a medical emergency like chest pain. But let us hope he reads my post and believes it. I used to work at an acute care clinic and two people got bumped to the front of the line---trouble breathing and chest pain patients.

    Your concern about dependence is warranted. But remember that although tolerance builds to the sedating effects, tolerance does not build to the anxiolytic properties of benzos, and if you maintain therapeutic doses and don't escalate you should be fine if you ever decide to quit on your own. It's people who have tripled or quadrupled their dosage for a long time that run into seizures and withdrawal symptoms. From experience I can tell you that I used to take ativan, and I went through about 800 of them(acquired through my regular vendor) in 8 or 9 months, and when I ran out, I ran out, and that was it. No withdrawals, nothing. Course, I might've been the exception to the rule. Now I'm back on valium at therapeutic doses and trying to quit because I can't get a doc to write a script for me. I think I'm going to admit on Monday to my psychiatrist that I have been illicitly taking benzos at high doses, and need something (low-dose benzos or phenobarbitol) to avoid seizures while I quit. Total honesty is the only answer I think.

    By the way, psychiatric conditions are genetic. Depression and anxiety disorders are genetic. Family history is one of the strongest predictors of a disorder. (For example, my Grandma had bipolar disorder, and my Mom has depression, and I suspect my Dad is bipolar but won't seek treatment).

    Atarax, or hydroxyzine, is a potent antihistamine and an excellent choice for anxiety disorders. It's safe and non-addictive and non-scheduled. So is buspar, although buspar takes weeks to build up in your system. By throwing away your herbals, you displayed great wisdom. There is very little empirical evidence to suggest the efficacy of St. John's Wort or 5-HTP. Ecstasy users are known to take 5-hydroxytryptophan because it's a precursor to serotonin which is depleted by the MDMA, but the problem is that herbals are not regulated by the FDA and potency varies in the extreme. One pill might have a lot of what you need, the other might just be a sugar pill. St. John's Wort I think is regulated in Germany, but is not an accepted treatment option in the United States.

    Glad you got your life back on track. My bipolar disorder went undiagnosed for 10 years, and it negatively affected my college, kept me from graduating until 10 years later, and made my life in the Army miserable.
    Helpful noobsaibot Rated helpful

  15. #15
    My experience with propranolol is that it worked pretty immediately, and didn't require much time to build up in my system.

    My GP prescribed 40mg 2/3 times a day for anxiety and trouble sleeping, but it hasn't really worked for me, as I don't have a racing heart / sweating etc. I was hoping for benzos for the calming effect that others have noted, but they're very reluctant to prescribe them at all in the UK, even if you don't have a history of substance mis-use (or what, in their opinion, can be labelled as misuse).

    However, I have found propranolol very useful for situations which make me very nervous, like speeches, interviews or if I know I'm going to be in a confrontational situation. It helps me to keep my cool by suppressing the fight or flight response, but doesn't cause the drowsiness / stoned feeling that I experience with benzos.

    Don't get me wrong - I enjoy that feeling! But I don't find it particularly useful on occasions where I need to use my head. At home and before bed, I prefers benzos, but during the day, I prefer propranolol.

  16. #16
    I've been doing more research, and it seems like everywhere I read from people's personal experiences (forums) with propanolol they seem to have an immediate effect. But when I read information found on medical websites, neurologists websites, etc. they suggest that it takes a few weeks to have any effect. I guess I will just have to wait for my order to arrive so I can experience it first hand.
    Noob S.

  17. Default propanolol for baby

    Hi,

    My 3 months old son has an hemagioma below his left hear. The doctor propose propanolol treatment.
    We're french, and in France, treating hemangioma with propanolol is brand new, ans still subject to a study. ( please, excuse my english by the way !)

    We have the possibility to access the study, so to decide if we re doing it or not, I'm
    But, i m still very worry about the side effects.

    It seems to work on the hemangioma, but I'm afraid to allow such a young child to have what seems to be a strong treatment.
    If I understand well, you guys are using propanolol to fight stage fright and things like that ? nothing to do with a heart condition ?
    that would be good news for me.

    If you have some info about that, please let me know : I would highly appreciate it.

    Thanks in advance

  18. A firend of mine suffers from a very similar problem. Not constant anxiety, but stage fright. He gets scared when talking or getting in front of groups of people. He has told me that a low dose of alprazolam .5mg-1mg, or 5mg diazepam, makes all the difference inteh world. Perhaps you could talk to your doctor about this?

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    Propranalol is wonderful if your symptoms are exclusively physical. If you deal with confusion, racing mind, difficulty focusing, etc. then you should certainly speak to your doctor about the possibility of a low dose benzo. The best advice I can give here is that your ability to perform while under the influence of a benzo will only come with time and understanding of the medicine. Your body will need time to get used to the medication and you will need time to gauge it's effect on your mental state. Once you are familiar and comfortable with the medicine, it could be wonderfully helpful - BUT, give yourself time. Do not expect to just pop a xanax and then present at a high level. I hope this helps and best of luck!
    Helpful noobsaibot Rated helpful

  20. #20
    @isatoulouse Sorry to hear that your baby is unwell! Propranolol a beta blocker, and is used for heart conditions like hypertension, and loads of other ones that I have no idea about.

    One of the ways it works is to slow down the heart rate, which is why people use it for stage fright and anxiety. When you're very nervous, your heart rate increases, and one of the effects of Propranolol is to stop this from happening, which helps you to feel less nervous.

    So to answer your question, it is used for both anxiety and heart conditions. Hope that helps!


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