Beta Blockers as Paruresis treatment option

Hi there, I've only just found this forum and have created an account but unfortunately I haven't received my activation link yet so I'll start off by posting as a guest.

Paruresis has basically ruled over my life since I was a teenager. I'm 23 now for reference, and the frustration and shame it has brought to my young adult life is immeasurable. I have to leave parties early, turn down invitations to music gigs even though I'm a massive music fan, and god forbid long journeys and having to use service stops are worse yet try to go at the side of the road. I think it may have also started to cause genuine physical damage, as I now get random pains in my bladder and my flow is quite weak. I've not had exposure therapy yet, as unfortunately therapists I speak to about this issue believe that by targeting my social anxiety in general this issue will also be overcome. I don't believe this though, as I recently started on antidepressant medication called Mirtazapine and have started lifting weights at the gym. My confidence and general mental wellbeing is the best it has ever been right now, I'm starting to feel like things are looking up for me and I've definitely found a new appreciation for myself and life in general. Regardless of this though, shy bladder syndrome is a major roadblock that stands in the way, even if now I feel confident enough to go out clubbing or any other busy social event I still have to say no thanks to this problem.

My doctor has recommended I give beta blockers a try, as these aim to lessen the physical manifestations of anxiety paruresis definitely is. I'm interested, but also apprehensive as I know beta blockers are a very serious drug. At this point though, I just want to be able to go out and live my life. I'm a young handsome man (The first time I've ever been able to say that confidently) and I just want to be able to go experience all the good things in life while I'm still young. I wanted to ask if anybody here has had any experience with using beta blockers as a way to treat this issue. I understand fully that they would not treat the underlying issue, but when I've tried exposure therapy on my own accord it just doesn't work for me. In my mind, beta blockers could be a very good tool to use alongside an exposure therapy programme, a way to hardwire my brain into finally realising that it's perfectly fine to urinate when other people are around. This is assuming they work in the first place, they definitely might not but I truly feel as if I have nothing to lose by just trying at this point. Thanks very much.

#119 by Chris

HI Chris

I have no experience of medication for helping with paruresis based anxiety. FYI here is an extract from our document on medication:
"Other medicines can help some of the physical symptoms of anxiety, for example the beta blockers propranolol and atenolol can slow a fast heart beat and reduce tremor. If these physical symptoms are helping to maintain the anxiety, then medicines can be helpful, but they do not directly treat the anxiety. "

You say "exposure therapy does not work for me". Self-help exposure therapy is tricky to do effectively: it is easy to jump in the deep end, or too deep, and it is difficult to set up the necessarily precise scenarios. In contrast, on our weekend workshops we can do just that; with our wide experience of exposure therapy in controlled situations, we would be able to help you progress. Do give it a try.

BW you say you found this forum: I hope you have had a look at other parts of the website as well.

Cheers
Andrew

#120 by andrew

It all depends how much it bothers you unless it's severe it's not really a problem.
If you actually want to revocer more if you want to do gradual exposure if you don't
try to not let it bother you. I was a severe paruretic, I did gradual exposure by myself for years
to become a moderate paruretic. I'd love to not have any hesitancy but this is who i am
if i want to do more gradual exposure then i will do so. I am not interested in gradual exposure
anymore. I found starting at the easiest possible in a locked cubicle in a big toilet then slowly
progressing.

#121 by Dylan
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