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Blushing

Question:

I’m 44 and ever since I was I teenager I have had a problem with blushing. I know it’s psychological and can happen instantaneously when I’m not even embarrassed. I can just be talking to someone and blush for no reason. It’s debilitating. What’s the best course of action? I’ve tried Inderal, hypnosis, psychotherapy etc..

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  • Dr. Dombeck responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
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Answer:

I assume that you’ve been to all sorts of doctors and therapists for this problem and nothing seems to have helped. I’m not sure what I can offer that they could not with regards to getting you fixed up. If indeed you only wish to blush less my only recommendation is to see a new doctor (MD type) and see if she can help you where the others failed. Maybe a dermatologist or something . . . ??

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p>On the other hand, I’m not aware of anyone who ever died from blushing too much – which is a way to say that while you might be blushing more than the average person, this isn’t necessarily an indication that you have a medical or other disorder in need of treatment.

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p>I wonder if your problem isn’t that you blush too easily, but instead that you feel ashamed of your blushing and embarrassed to blush so freely in front of others. I wonder if you might be thinking that they view you more negatively because of your blushing. I can see how shame could be debilitating. If it is the case that the problem is really more about shame feelings than a medical problem, then the type of treatment to seek would be one that helped you to feel more self-confident, and self-accepting. I can think of several places where you might find this sort of help: a self-help group for shy persons or socially phobic persons, any sort of group therapy where you could talk about your issue and hear about others’ warts too, Cognitive Behaviorally oriented group therapy for social phobia (available through a Cognitive Behaviorally oriented psychologist’s office). Basically, it might be helpful to discuss your blushing with others who could help you to accept yourself better.

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p>This advice is only going to be helpful if in fact I’ve guessed right about the role of shame in your difficulty. Please disregard if that is not it.

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