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Anxiety Disorders, OCD & PTSD A forum to discuss Anxiety, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Simple Phobias, and Social Anxiety Disorder

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  #1  
Old 08-06-15, 06:21 AM
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Eye Contact

Hi, I was just wondering if anyone has any experience in dealing with eye contact anxiety. I never had this issue with talking to someone till I started Stimulants, which I'm tapering off now and it doesn't seem to be going away but it's getting less worse as I taper down. It's really hard to make eye contact with people for some reason, it makes me feel extremely nervous and awkward. Any advice or anyone out there experience this and end up having it subside?
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Old 08-06-15, 06:46 AM
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Re: Eye Contact

I've had trouble making eye-contact my whole life, weird that it got worse for you on stimulants.

Maybe they're increasing your overall anxiety?

I have a harder time making eye-contact now that I'm off stimulants.

That's fine with me though, eye-contact is overrated.
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Old 08-06-15, 09:32 AM
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Re: Eye Contact

Ha ha, appreciate the reply. I'm thinking you're probably right about Stimulants being the main cause of it, considering it was never this bad before taking them. I guess the only thing to do is keep tapering off them and keep trying. I'm going into Real Estate Sales, and I work at a company that involves a lot of social interaction so it's hard not to make eye contact!
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Old 08-06-15, 09:53 AM
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Re: Eye Contact

Maybe the stimulants are making you more aware of the fact that you are making eye contact. I mean, eye contact when it happens naturally doesn't feel awkward but once I realise that I'm staring at someone, I start feeling self conscious, distracted and awkward.

I can't focus when I'm making eye contact (as I get distracted by the other person's eyes or their expressions) so I usually look away when I'm trying to listen to what the other person is saying or when I'm talking.

And yes, stimulants can increase anxiety in general as well.
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Old 08-16-15, 02:18 PM
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Re: Eye Contact

I have always had problems making eye contact in certain situations, especially if I'm having a conversation with someone where something important is at stake, or if they are in a position of authority (temporary or otherwise) over me.

It definitely seems to go hand-in-hand with how anxious I'm feeling at the time. In normal social situations where I'm relaxed and having a good time, I rarely if ever have this problem.
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Old 08-16-15, 02:53 PM
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Re: Eye Contact

I would not blame the stimulant exactly - I don't think that really happens like that. I think the stimulant was increasing your anxiety level, and your increased anxiety forced you to reduce eye contact.
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Old 10-05-15, 08:08 PM
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Re: Eye Contact

Gosh, I had a really bad bout of social phobia that I believe was partially caused by increasing my Adderall XR. I was prescribed Xanax for the anxiety since I was in graduate school and decreasing my Adderall wasn't an option. My symptoms did end up subsiding on their own and I was able to discontinue the Xanax after a year.

I usually have trouble making eye contact when I'm talking to people because I'm easily distracted by others' facial expressions. I think I noticed I did this more on the Adderall and I began to really focus on how poorly I communicated, which in turn just made me more self-conscious and anxious. Now I don't care. I'm able to speak more clearly when I look off rather than directly at a person. Oh well.
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Old 10-06-15, 05:35 AM
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Re: Eye Contact

God have I trouble w this
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Old 11-03-15, 05:13 PM
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Re: Eye Contact

I've had problems with eye contact since my preteens. My antidepressants and ADD medications haven't made it worse, maybe a little better as I'm not as anxious.
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Old 11-03-15, 11:23 PM
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Re: Eye Contact

Eye contact is an oddity of mine aswell, it freaks the **** out of me to look into someone's eyes.

Oddly when I was taking IR dex which would give an unavoidable "high" at times my ability was zero to look into someone's eyes, since taking ER dex and a larger dose my ability has increased greatly to the point I can look people in the eye when talking...

So maybe the higher stable dose is helping? No idea.... I'm a lot more "with it" and calmer I'm general.. I think it all comes down to a sweet spot, Too little or too much and it gets worse..
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Old 06-06-17, 02:13 AM
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Re: Eye Contact

Thanks for sharing this information.
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Old 06-08-17, 10:49 PM
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Re: Eye Contact

I think better when I'm looking away from the person. I've always been like that. My family has always given me crap about it. I force myself to do it for work but if I have to think about what I'm saying, I've gotta look away.
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Old 06-08-17, 11:43 PM
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Re: Eye Contact

Quote:
Originally Posted by Austinnou88 View Post
Hi, I was just wondering if anyone has any experience in dealing with eye contact anxiety. I never had this issue with talking to someone till I started Stimulants, which I'm tapering off now and it doesn't seem to be going away but it's getting less worse as I taper down. It's really hard to make eye contact with people for some reason, it makes me feel extremely nervous and awkward. Any advice or anyone out there experience this and end up having it subside?

Unstable gaze is a very significant part of ADHD and contributes to many of the symptoms. Part of that instability is inability to activate the behaviour suppression (no go) pathways in basal ganglia- which are all dopaminergic.
IE the unstable gaze is partly related to inability to suppress the reflex to dart of and check each new stimulus. It is also partly related to anxiety in some cases.

So its likely you are getting more eye contact than you have been used to.

The stimulants may increase sympathetic arousal- which can be interpreted as anxiety, but which should subside with time.

So the question is "Is the anxiety directly caused by the eye contact, or are both the eye contact and the anxiety symptoms secondary to the stimulants".

It is actually pretty easy to use mindfulness based techniques to ease out of anxiety once you practice a little ( you do need some direct teaching to do this) and once you can do that you can find somebody suitable to work with and then use those techniques while in eye contact.

I definitely do not agree that eye contact is overrated- we are wired for close social contact- including eye contact, and if you cant do it you will certainly be judged on that. Very often the judgment will be a subliminal one that you have something to hide. That is just unhelpful in many situations - especially in the workplace.
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Old 07-27-17, 08:20 AM
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Re: Eye Contact

Specifically it is related to the autism part of add. Just the same as many don't relate to people through touching.

Personally this was one of those things that I beat myself down for. Many consider not being able to hold eye contact a great weakness. You even come across as aloof, unreliable or even arrogant. When I look someone in the eyes I get a knee-jerk reaction inside me, like a flash and feel super serious. So without the meds, holding eye contact was simply not worth it.

As I said, the phenomenon is super related to our condition and everyone should take it as such. Why? Because it is super important to be able to connect with person(s) you are talking to, and the problem is not related to your personal strength and weaknesses. Making it a technical issue.

Cheers
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Old 08-06-17, 11:36 PM
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Re: Eye Contact

I have to force myself to make eye contact. I try to do just enough that I hope the other person(s) don't feel rejected or dismissed, but not enough so I feel like I am starting to have a panic attack. I spend most of a conversation thoughtfully looking away, like many people do when they are thinking.

Too much Ritalin (40mg dose) and caffeine at the same time jack me up super bad, sending my anxiety into the stratosphere. The few times I screwed the pooch and this happened, it made eye contact super hard.
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