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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 10-21-17, 11:09 PM
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Anxiety and hugs/touch

Does anyone else with anxiety have difficulty with hugs and other contact? I never really realized this about myself, but I'm becoming more aware. I only give sideways hugs. My mom recently made a comment about it when she hugged me and I gave her a sideways hug. I'm the same way even with my older kids. I have no problem with hugging them and showing a ton of affection when they're babies/toddlers, but when they get older, it's like I'm hypersensitive to it. If someone, even family, sits next to me and they are too close or are touching me, I can't stand it. Or sometimes my 5 yr old runs up and puts his hand on my arm and I can't stand it. I didn't even realize I reacted this way until recently, and it's added to my feelings of being a horrible mom and just an overall horrible person. I love my kids, but I have to really make an effort to give them affectionate touches. It seems weird to me that it's so natural when they're babies, but not when they're older?

My husband always complained I wasn't affectionate enough, but I attributed that to our marital problems. I now see that even setting aside the marital problems, my anxiety and problems showing affection didn't help my marriage and I think it destroyed the few brief relationships I had before that.

Anyways, my point is, I recently saw a video of a mom talking about her daughter with Asperger's and she talked about her daughter's problems with contact and how she gave sideways hugs, which they called an "Aspie hug". I was a little taken aback, since I do this and don't believe I have Asperger's. I do have the problems with making eye contact (which I've gotten better at) and problems with speaking to other people and sometimes understanding what they're saying or implying. But I don't think I have the other traits. But when I look up anxiety and problems with hugging, my search comes up blank. When I look up Aspergers and hugging, there are a ton of results talking about problems with hugging and touch.

So I was just curious what this means for me and if anyone else with anxiety has this problem.
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Old 10-21-17, 11:20 PM
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Re: Anxiety and hugs/touch

i have OCD not generalized or social anxiety, so that might be different.

i don't have problems with hugs as long as i'm ok with the person. i can't stand to be touched or too close to someone i am not ok with. it'll be written all over my face and i'll be stiff as a board or inching away. i require a great deal of personal space in general when out and about in the world of strangers.

that said, and before i say this i want to note that i don't think you're a horrid mum at all. you love them. that's what's most important i'm very affectionate with my small girl. it was hard when she was first born because i would have horrible intrusive thoughts that featured her. but my psychiatrist was very quick to identify and respond to the problem and medication works well for me to control them. as a result, like i said, i'm super affectionate with my kid and she's an affectionate little girl, too. we're a pretty physical family, i'd say. we snuggle a lot.

but...that's ALL possible because my intrusive thoughts are well controlled by medication. it's a whole different world when they're not or when i'm unwell from another diagnosis.

hope that helps and, sincerely, i don't think you're a bad mum just because you need more physical space.
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Old 10-21-17, 11:49 PM
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Re: Anxiety and hugs/touch

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhiteOwl View Post
Does anyone else with anxiety have difficulty with hugs and other contact? I never really realized this about myself, but I'm becoming more aware. I only give sideways hugs. My mom recently made a comment about it when she hugged me and I gave her a sideways hug. I'm the same way even with my older kids. I have no problem with hugging them and showing a ton of affection when they're babies/toddlers, but when they get older, it's like I'm hypersensitive to it. If someone, even family, sits next to me and they are too close or are touching me, I can't stand it. Or sometimes my 5 yr old runs up and puts his hand on my arm and I can't stand it. I didn't even realize I reacted this way until recently, and it's added to my feelings of being a horrible mom and just an overall horrible person. I love my kids, but I have to really make an effort to give them affectionate touches. It seems weird to me that it's so natural when they're babies, but not when they're older?

My husband always complained I wasn't affectionate enough, but I attributed that to our marital problems. I now see that even setting aside the marital problems, my anxiety and problems showing affection didn't help my marriage and I think it destroyed the few brief relationships I had before that.

Anyways, my point is, I recently saw a video of a mom talking about her daughter with Asperger's and she talked about her daughter's problems with contact and how she gave sideways hugs, which they called an "Aspie hug". I was a little taken aback, since I do this and don't believe I have Asperger's. I do have the problems with making eye contact (which I've gotten better at) and problems with speaking to other people and sometimes understanding what they're saying or implying. But I don't think I have the other traits. But when I look up anxiety and problems with hugging, my search comes up blank. When I look up Aspergers and hugging, there are a ton of results talking about problems with hugging and touch.

So I was just curious what this means for me and if anyone else with anxiety has this problem.
Have you ever seen the movie called Temple Grandin?






M
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Old 10-22-17, 12:12 AM
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Re: Anxiety and hugs/touch

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhiteOwl View Post
Does anyone else with anxiety have difficulty with hugs and other contact? I never really realized this about myself, but I'm becoming more aware. I only give sideways hugs. My mom recently made a comment about it when she hugged me and I gave her a sideways hug. I'm the same way even with my older kids. I have no problem with hugging them and showing a ton of affection when they're babies/toddlers, but when they get older, it's like I'm hypersensitive to it. If someone, even family, sits next to me and they are too close or are touching me, I can't stand it. Or sometimes my 5 yr old runs up and puts his hand on my arm and I can't stand it. I didn't even realize I reacted this way until recently, and it's added to my feelings of being a horrible mom and just an overall horrible person. I love my kids, but I have to really make an effort to give them affectionate touches. It seems weird to me that it's so natural when they're babies, but not when they're older?

My husband always complained I wasn't affectionate enough, but I attributed that to our marital problems. I now see that even setting aside the marital problems, my anxiety and problems showing affection didn't help my marriage and I think it destroyed the few brief relationships I had before that.

Anyways, my point is, I recently saw a video of a mom talking about her daughter with Asperger's and she talked about her daughter's problems with contact and how she gave sideways hugs, which they called an "Aspie hug". I was a little taken aback, since I do this and don't believe I have Asperger's. I do have the problems with making eye contact (which I've gotten better at) and problems with speaking to other people and sometimes understanding what they're saying or implying. But I don't think I have the other traits. But when I look up anxiety and problems with hugging, my search comes up blank. When I look up Aspergers and hugging, there are a ton of results talking about problems with hugging and touch.

So I was just curious what this means for me and if anyone else with anxiety has this problem.
(I am not sure about Temple Grandin's perspective about the opioid excess theory so I am posting this information in a separate post)

My layman understanding is when people touch or hug, opioids are secreted in our brains.

Some researchers think that some people are hypersensitive to opioids and can be over whelmed when they are hugged or touched, partly because of they are hypersensitive to opioids released in our brains when touched or hugged.

My layman understanding is that people who are hypersensitive to opioids want to be touched and hugged, but become overwhelmed.

Thanks for starting this thread discussion, I was just wondering about these topics and am interested in learning more.

Please leave room for error and learning in my post.


Quote:
Quote:
This hypothesis was first proposed by Jaak Panksepp in a 1979 paper, in which he speculated that autism might be "an emotional disturbance arising from an upset in the opiate systems in the brain."[3] -wiki
-Panksepp, J. (1979). "A neurochemical theory of autism". Trends in Neurosciences. 2: 174–177. doi:10.1016/0166-2236(79)90071-7.


M
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Last edited by mildadhd; 10-22-17 at 12:29 AM..
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Old 10-22-17, 12:29 AM
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Re: Anxiety and hugs/touch

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Have you ever seen the movie called Temple Grandin?






M
No, I've never heard of it.
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Old 10-22-17, 12:46 AM
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Re: Anxiety and hugs/touch

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Originally Posted by WhiteOwl View Post
No, I've never heard of it.
I was diagnosed with ADHD inattentive, but there are lots of things I can relate to in this true story about Temple Grandin, and I think the movie is well worth watching.

(Spoiler alert)

This video is a part near the end of the movie.


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Old 10-22-17, 01:08 AM
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Re: Anxiety and hugs/touch

(First 10 minutes of the movie, with more examples involving the topics of anxiety, hugs/touch, etc)












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Old 10-22-17, 01:56 AM
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Re: Anxiety and hugs/touch

Quote:
Originally Posted by mildadhd View Post
(I am not sure about Temple Grandin's perspective about the opioid excess theory so I am posting this information in a separate post)

My layman understanding is when people touch or hug, opioids are secreted in our brains.

Some researchers think that some people are hypersensitive to opioids and can be over whelmed when they are hugged or touched, partly because of they are hypersensitive to opioids released in our brains when touched or hugged.

My layman understanding is that people who are hypersensitive to opioids want to be touched and hugged, but become overwhelmed.

Thanks for starting this thread discussion, I was just wondering about these topics and am interested in learning more.

Please leave room for error and learning in my post.






M
That's very interesting, I will have to look more into that. The best way I can describe it, is the thought of giving a full on hug makes me feel very claustrophobic. Just like sitting in between two people or being surrounded by a bunch of people does. It feels smothering and is sometimes downright painful. And that's just with people who are close to me. With people other than family, forget about it!
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Old 11-07-17, 09:15 AM
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Re: Anxiety and hugs/touch

I popped into this forum because over the past 6 months my anxiety has crept back in (along with my never goes away ADHD) - I personally can't stand being hugged unless it's with a friend or someone I know I won't have to hug very often. I don't even like when people are too close to me. That being said, if I can force myself to get past the hug aversion, once I'm in the hug it's kind of nice.

I know lots of people with anxiety and I'm the only non-hugger. I think it's my ADHD, I don't like standing still not doing anything for that long. but also how I was brought up (we weren't an affectionate family).
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Old 11-07-17, 11:49 AM
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Re: Anxiety and hugs/touch

I know one woman with autism/asperger's who hates being touched or hugged.
She is very up front about it and tells people she meets that she's very pleased
to meet them but she won't be shaking their hand or doing any hugging.

I know a guy with autism/asperger's who loves hugs and gives the greatest
(in my opinion) long tight hugs. The kind I love to give and get.

And then there's my granddaughter with autism/pddnos who simply doesn't
get it. She loves leaning against us, patting us, holding our hands. But she just
doesn't seem to get the concept of putting our arms around each other and
giving/getting a little squeeze.
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Old 11-07-17, 01:39 PM
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Re: Anxiety and hugs/touch

My partner has ADHD and suffers from bouts of anxiety and depression and he’s funny who he’ll hug - he’ll hug me but if it’s random he get uncomfortable. He’ll cuddle me and that’s fine but doesn’t like hugging me in front of people he’ll joke about with it. Like he’s an embarrassed teenager. He will not cuddle his children it makes him uncomfortable. And I have young siblings who he will allow to hug hug by he scrunches his body up and laughs like he’s uncomfortable with it. He’s not good with affection at all, he’s aware of it and will happy day ‘I hate affection’ And if he hugs a friend for example my best friend who is is also friendly with hugs him and he
Balls his hands up so he doesn’t touch her with his hands, I’ve noticed he does this with most people - also the side hug just one arm usually around the shoulder but also balls his hand up almost as if that physical touch with the hand is too much xx
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