I am 17 and about to start at a new college, but I suffer from social anixety: I often panic when asked to speak aloud or meet new people. I've read that betablockers give relief from anxiety symptoms. Would my GP prescribe them, and do they have any side-effects?
You don't need to jump straight to betablockers. Anxiety is a normal reaction to starting anything new. If you can convince yourself that your anxiety will subside, and that it won't cause you lasting harm, you are halfway to curing yourself. Physical activity, eating healthily (no fads!), and controlling alcohol and coffee intake will also help. If you don't settle, you have several options. One is self-help through cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), or seek help from the college medical services, which should be staffed by doctors and psychologists highly experienced in managing anxiety. Remember that you are not alone in approaching college life with trepidation. A betablocker is only one of the possibilities, there are other anti-anxiety medicines that may be more appropriate.
I seem to have done something to my shoulder that is causing bad circulation in my arm. I don't recall a specific injury, yet I can't get to sleep most nights because my arm is aching so much. What can I do to improve it?
Why do you think your circulation is affected? Does your hand go white or blue? Or become extremely cold? Pain in the arm doesn't, on its own, suggest that you have a circulation problem. However a constant pain in the shoulder and upper arm does need investigation. It can arise from the neck or the chest (including the upper part of the underlying lung), or even from organs under the diaphragm (the liver or spleen). The fact that the symptoms are worst at night suggests possible neck nerve entrapment, but doesn't rule out other causes. So your doctor will want to take a careful history, conduct a thorough examination and perhaps order further tests, such as a chest and shoulder X-ray. You may also be given effective painkillers – presumably you have taken over-the-counter medicines that haven't worked.
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