Kava Kava and the Treatment of Social Anxiety

Social anxiety is a crippling and deeply debilitating disorder in which the sufferer experiences intense, overwhelming and distressing thoughts that are intrusive and highly negative. Fearful that they have alienated their target audience, social anxiety sufferers will go to extreme lengths to avoid embarrassment and typically will isolate themselves.

Social anxiety is an anxiety disorder that goes far beyond the scope of mere shyness and social ineptitude. The sufferer has a compulsion of negativity, damaging self-esteem, eroding confidence and undermining any sense of accomplishment.

Comorbidity between social anxiety and alcohol dependence is well-documented, as sufferers of social anxiety will typically seek to use a crutch of sorts to overcome their inhibitions and challenge their negative thought patterns.

To date, treatment of social anxiety has focused primarily upon counselling and psychotherapy of which cognitive behavioural therapy remains the most prevalent form, and the prescribing of medication for it has remained somewhat of a controversy.

Proponents of medication have argued that social anxiety should be treated like any other mental disorder or compulsion: in that the prescription of medication can be useful to reduce the intensity of the anxiety experienced. Once the patient stabilises sufficiently, they can then have the courage to reduce the medication.

Opponents argue that the psychological dependency upon medication is harmful, and that by dulling the perceptions and social cues of the social anxiety sufferer, the underlying problem remains unresolved.

Kava Kava is a herb found in the Pacific region, and has been regularly consumed as part of Polynesian and Hawaiian culture. In particular, Kava Kava has proven to be especially popular within Polynesian culture with aphrodisiac properties prescribed to it!

Studies commissioned into Kava Kava have identified that the herb works on the central nervous system thereby providing some much needed relief for the endless cycle of anxiety experienced by those who struggle with social anxiety.

It should also be noted that Kava Kava also possesses euphoric properties, instilling a sense of calm, detached, blissful contentment within the person who has ingested it. Typically ground down and then added to hot water to form a tea, Kava Kava is regarded as a viable social lubricant.

At first blush, Kava Kava and alcohol seem to be one and one the same. However, the crucial advantage that Kava Kava has over its counterpart is that whilst it may intoxicate the person ingesting it, it will have absolutely no negative effect on cognition at all.