Best Nootropics For Social Anxiety
Social anxiety is a part of everyone’s life, although for some much more than others
Some nootropics have anecdotally been able to lower discomfort in social settings
Certain nootropics may be able to provide some “social lubrication” without the negative effects of alcohol
Social Anxiety Disorder
Pretty much everyone feels a little bit nervous in social settings from time to time.
First dates, parties where you don’t really know anyone, lunch meetings with a big potential client, these are all situations where it’s natural to feel some anxiety.
However, social anxiety is a spectrum, and some people have a harder time feeling comfortable socializing than others.
Some people may try to avoid certain settings, or even leaving their house altogether. Severe cases of social anxiety usually require therapy and counseling to treat.
Luckily, no matter where you may fall on this spectrum, there are some over the counter supplements that may ease the internal pressure when you are around others.
Nootropics For Socializing
The first thing that comes to mind when people think about easing their social anxiety is alcohol.
And, while it certainly may work for some people, there are obvious health downsides to drinking until you feel confident.
We can say pretty definitively that cocktails are NOT nootropic (even though they may feel that way!).
Fortunately, the supplements on this list have proven benefits when it comes to lowering anxiety and enjoying the company of others.
And, you won’t wake up with a headache the morning after.
Best Nootropics For Social Anxiety
L-theanine (r-glutamylethylamide) is a unique type of amino acid that is clinically proven to induce a calm state of mind, relieve stress, raise mood, and improve focus. All the things that can help when you are meeting new people!
This nootropic comes from the tea plant, and it pairs extremely well with caffeine.
It is famous for taking the edge off the caffeine buzz, providing long-lasting, jitter-free energy.
L-theanine quickly crosses the blood-brain barrier and raises your levels of GABA, serotonin, and dopamine.
These are all neurotransmitters associated with general well-being and can mean feeling a lot more comfortable in your own skin while you’re interacting with others.1Pradeep J. Nathan, et al. The Neuropharmacology of L-Theanine(N-Ethyl-L-Glutamine), Journal of Herbal Pharmacotherapy. 2006
It can also lower levels of glutamate, which is an excitatory neurotransmitter. If your glutamate gets too high, though, this can cause anxiety.2Yamada T, et al. Effects of theanine, r-glutamylethylamide, on neurotransmitter release and its relationship with glutamic acid neurotransmission, Nutr Neurosci. 2005
L-theanine can also lower cortisol and blood pressure, which can spike in social settings if you have anxiety.3Yoto A, Motoki M, Murao S, Yokogoshi H. Effects of L-theanine or caffeine intake on changes in blood pressure under physical and psychological stresses, J Physiol Anthropol. 2012
All in all, these actions work together to smooth out the nerves you might feel around others. And, it goes great with coffee!
Where to Buy L-theanine:
Aniracetam is one of the most popular nootropics out there. Like other racetams, it can be taken for its powerful effects on memory and cognition.
But it is especially useful for people looking for a boost in sociability.
Aniracetam has a unique ability to potentially boost verbal ability and flow.
Many people who take it report that conversations go more easily, and they do not struggle to express themselves as much.
Keep in mind that all of the reports are purely anecdotal and that there has not been any actual research into these effects.
However, there are enough positive testimonials out there that we think it may be worth looking into yourself.
Where to Buy Aniracetam:
Ashwagandha is a powerful adaptogenic herb with thousands of years of history behind it.
Cultures in Southeast Asia have been using it for anxiety, stress, stamina, libido, and overall health for a very long time.
Modern science is starting to confirm ashwagandha is effective in treating a variety of conditions.
For social anxiety sufferers, ashwagandha can be a godsend. It is proven to lower the stress hormone cortisol.
Social situations can often trigger the fight-or-flight response in people with social anxiety, spiking cortisol levels.
This can cause racing thoughts, higher blood pressure, and feelings of discomfort.
Fortunately, ashwagandha can keep these levels in check, reducing the feelings of anxiety as you go about socializing.4Chandrasekhar K, Kapoor J, Anishetty S. A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults, Indian J Psychol Med. 2012 5Andrade C, et al. A double-blind, placebo-controlled evaluation of the anxiolytic efficacy ff an ethanolic extract of withania somnifera., Indian J Psychiatry. 2000
We particularly like the chilled-out effects of ashwagandha at the end of the day. It can really help take the edge off a stressful day and promote better sleep.
Most people see the full effects of ashwagandha after about a month of daily use.
Where to Buy Ashwagandha:
Rhodiola is another adaptogenic herb with a long history as an anti-anxiety treatment. Like ashwagandha, it lowers cortisol and stress levels.6Edwards D, Heufelder A, Zimmermann A. Therapeutic effects and safety of Rhodiola rosea extract WS® 1375 in subjects with life-stress symptoms–results of an open-label study, Phytother Res. 2012
However, most people find Rhodiola more stimulating as opposed to relaxing. This can make it better for day-time social anxiety relief.
Like ashwagandha, it may take a few weeks before you start noticing the effects.
Where to Buy Rhodiola Rosea:
Phenibut is a synthetic nootropic substance that was developed by the Russian space program to quell the nerves of cosmonauts during spacewalks without impairing their motor skills.
It is a very powerful anti-anxiety medication that can help you relax during social situations. It is still used in Russia as a clinical treatment for anxiety.7Lapin I. Phenibut (beta-phenyl-GABA): a tranquilizer and nootropic drug, CNS Drug Rev. 2001
It works by boosting levels of GABA in your brain, creating a sense of calm, even euphoria in high doses.
Keep in mind that GABA is also the neurotransmitter that alcohol works on, which is why some people find the effects similar.
Many people report that they feel loosened up the way they would feel after a few strong drinks, but (here’s the important part) without the intoxication.
This can make it an invaluable aid for navigating stressful social situations without getting sloshed.
However, unlike the other nootropics on this list, phenibut does have a dark side. It can be addictive, and you may feel some unpleasant side-effects at large doses.
The addiction and withdrawals associated with phenibut can actually be VERY nasty.
If you choose to use phenibut for your social anxiety, you should only use it a few times a month so that you don’t develop tolerance or dependence.
But, if you use it responsibly, phenibut can be great for freeing yourself from anxiety on a night out without relying on alcohol.
Where to Buy Phenibut:
Is there a Nootropic you like to use to ease your social anxiety? Let us know in the comments!
About the author:
Erik Levi is a co-founder of HolisticNootropics.com and a certified holistic nutritional therapy practitioner.
As an NTP Erik takes a nutrition first approach to health. He has worked with many different people to help them use nutrition to optimize their quality of life.
Erik believes that mental health is a physiological process and cognitive enhancement is not something that can be achieved by just taking some pills with good Amazon reviews.
Instead, true cognitive enhancement comes with the right balance of nutrients, movement, and gratitude. Erik continues to stay up to date with the most current nootropic and holistic health research and promises to deliver the best solutions possible.
You can check out his personal health blog/podcast/YouTube Channel all under the name Holistic A-Hole.