When I enter a social situation that I perceive as a bit threatening, the first two minutes are fine. I can greet everyone well, enjoy being there. But after 2 minutes, adrenaline really starts kicking in. My body becomes very tense and for the next 2-3 hours I have problems directly looking at people, laughing, and feeling in any way comfortable. I’m full of adrenaline. When these 2-3 hours are over, everything is fine and I can enjoy communicating like any normal person would.
I thought it would go away with more social experience, but it doesn’t look like it. Those first 2-3 hours are a big burden to me. If I wouldn’t get that adrenaline boost, I would be perfectly fine. I see other people getting adrenaline for a threatening social situation, but it doesn’t stay in their body for hours like in mine. Is this some kind of disorder? Are there pills for this kind of stuff? My life would be so much better without this, which keeps happening to me. I’m in my 20s. Your help is much appreciated.
I appreciate the struggle that you present in this question. It sounds like you’ve been stressed with this for quite a while. Yet there does seem to be some other characteristics that would be important to identify.
First place to look would be in those social situations where this doesn’t happen. My guess is there are a few of them. Let’s see where you are with other people when it works and what makes that comfortable. Typically when there is this kind of anxiety, or panic, there’s a flipside to it. When there is something so acute that is causing this kind of arousal, there are other situations that don’t. You want to learn what they are and find out the difference.
I would make list of all the situations you’ve been in over the past month when you felt this anxiety. On the other side of the paper make a list of those times when you were with another person and felt fine or neutral. In particular look for the times when you actually enjoyed the engagement. What were looking for here is the difference: What causes you to be okay in one area and not in another?
I think this kind of analysis could be very helpful to pinpoint those things you need to feel good about in social situations.
Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.
APA Reference Tomasulo, D. (2018). Too Much Adrenaline. Psych Central.
Retrieved on May 23, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/02/08/too-much-adrenaline/
Last updated: 8 May 2018 Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.