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Author Topic: Beta Blockers or Xanax for severe stage fright?  (Read 12039 times)

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Offline erica_h

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Beta Blockers or Xanax for severe stage fright?
« on: September 21, 2011, 07:35:35 PM »
I suffer from severe stage fright and I'm in the school band, so we have performances a lot.
 My heart and head race, and the "fight-or-flight" response kicks in for some reason. Whenever I get anxious I feel very sick to my stomach, and that happens when I'm in front of a crowd-which makes me scared that I'm going to be sick.
 I know that it's all in my head, and besides the upset stomach and IBS symptoms I get when I'm nervous, I can calm myself down so that my heart isn't beating too fast. I have access to xanax, but no beta blockers(Which don't help mental symptoms, if I'm correct?).
I took half of a xanax for a performance once and it helped a lot, but I'm more nervous for our upcoming one. Should I take a whole xanax or ask my doctor for beta blockers?

My stage fright comes from my  emetophobia, I think. :/
Thanks for reading.
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Offline Cuchculan

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Re: Beta Blockers or Xanax for severe stage fright?
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2011, 06:33:06 AM »
If it is only going to be used for situation anxiety, as in once in a while, I see no reason why you should not continue with the xanax. It is perfect for what you describe. You only use it when you are going on stage. It has worked before. So I would stick with it. I see no point in the beta blockers at all. But have a word with your doctor. I think he may agree. See no reason why he shouldn't.
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Offline Davevanza

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Re: Beta Blockers or Xanax for severe stage fright?
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2011, 09:46:49 AM »
I suffer from severe stage fright and I'm in the school band, so we have performances a lot.
 My heart and head race, and the "fight-or-flight" response kicks in for some reason. Whenever I get anxious I feel very sick to my stomach, and that happens when I'm in front of a crowd-which makes me scared that I'm going to be sick.
 I know that it's all in my head, and besides the upset stomach and IBS symptoms I get when I'm nervous, I can calm myself down so that my heart isn't beating too fast. I have access to xanax, but no beta blockers(Which don't help mental symptoms, if I'm correct?).
I took half of a xanax for a performance once and it helped a lot, but I'm more nervous for our upcoming one. Should I take a whole xanax or ask my doctor for beta blockers?

My stage fright comes from my  emetophobia, I think. :/
Thanks for reading.

As for stage fright, usually doctors prescribed Propranolol, which is a beta-blocker, and unlike other beta-blockers, Propranolol crosses Blood Brain Barrier. So, it has an effect to the CNS.

I think, it's better if you could seek advice from your doctor, as he could diagnose you problem.

Kind regards,
Davevanza
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Offline epiphone15

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Re: Beta Blockers or Xanax for severe stage fright?
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2011, 11:32:41 PM »
beta blockers really help with controlling your heartrate, but it doesnt take away your anxiety per se. if xanax has been working for you then i sayy you should continue with that. go ahead and take a full one since you know you can tolerate a half pill. of course, take it on a need-basis only
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Offline constantmover

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Re: Beta Blockers or Xanax for severe stage fright?
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2011, 01:29:22 AM »
Frankly, either can do the trick.  Many performers take beta blockers, but xanax used occasionally isn't a bad idea either. When you say you have access to xanax...does that mean it is not your prescription and you are using someone else's...If that is the case, you should really go to your doctor and get your own, either a beta blocker or xanax or lorazepam...whatever the doctor feels is the best for your situation.  Taking someone else's meds is never a good idea.
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Offline Caseman

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Re: Beta Blockers or Xanax for severe stage fright?
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2011, 04:21:41 PM »
I can't comment on xanax, but beta blockers are quite helpful. I take propranolol when I need it. It doesn't have any direct effects on your mental state, but helps to tone down the physical symptoms of anxiety. You don't feel as shaky, and it helps with the racing heart/palpitation feeling. In my opinion this can be incredibly helpful, because with anxiety, we often fear the physical symptoms of anxiety itself. You may worry about feeling shaky and getting that gross jittery feeling, and when you begin to feel these symptoms, you may feel even more tense, frustrated, or anxious. This fuels the cycle - you fear the effects of anxiety, and when they actually occur, you feel even worse.

When the physical symptoms are toned down by something like propranolol, this cycle is disrupted, as many of the physical symptoms are addressed. This is very, very helpful in my opinion.

Sorry for any bad grammar or typos, I am posting with the iphone right now!
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Offline AOKAY

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Re: Beta Blockers or Xanax for severe stage fright?
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2011, 03:07:28 PM »
I agree with Caseman 100%, Erica.

You mention your school band so I assume you are a student.  I had my first panic attack while in high school.  One of the ways I earned money in high school was performing magic, and at one venue the crowd was huge with a full orchestra and this was beyond what I had ever experienced or expected.  I freaked, but somehow got through the performance, breathing heavily, shaking and obviously appearing nervous to the audience.  The next scheduled performance my anxiety level was raised not because I was afraid of performing, which I loved, but because I was afraid I might panic or appear panicky.  This is a nasty spiral, as Caseman says and I strongly suggest you intervene now.  Somehow I got through high school productions, college presentations and law school moot court all without medication, although I experienced anxiety on the verge of panic every time.  This is not a good way to go through life.  It was not until I was a practicing attorney that I realized my performance affected the lives of my clients and decided to talk to a doctor about medication.

An understanding doctor will offer both Xanax and propranolol.  In my experience, Xanax at .25mg does nothing, but .5mg makes me drowsy so I prefer not to use it.  Propranolol at 20mg takes the edge off by reducing the racing heart and high blood pressure of the fight or flight response.  I've taken up to 40mg propranolol.  I take both medications, only as needed, depending upon the circumstances.  There are even times I don't feel I need the medication, but it is comforting to know it is there, just in case.

Please talk to your doctor.  Some are reluctant to prescribe drugs for performance anxiety, but that is only because they have never experienced a panic attack themselves.  In that case, find another doctor. 

Get some help now to minimize the effect of performance anxiety on your life.  You can lead a full and satisfying life with performance anxiety, but medication can help.   Even talking to someone helps.
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