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Can’t Control Your Blushing?

Everyone has gone red from blushing at some point in their lives. An embarrassing moment or something stressful happens and, whoosh we go red. But for many of us, blushing can become a problem that affects our life. This article looks at what blushing is, whether anxiety can cause blushing and the treatment for it.

What is blushing a sign of?

To many of us, blushing is a sign of embarrassment or stress. However, it can occur when we feel tired or hot and sometimes we blush as a reaction to something (like alcohol, hot and spicy foods or a hot drink). We can blush when we do strenuous exercise, suddenly go from a cold to hot environment or when we are getting a fever. There are also a number of medical conditions associated with blushing so if blushing is suddenly occurring or it is affecting your quality of life, it is worth seeing your GP.

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Does anxiety cause blushing?

Anxiety can cause blushing. One of the anxiety disorders most associated with blushing is social phobia (which is a fear of being judged by others). People with social phobia hate being the centre of attention. If they are in a social situation where they feel as though they could be judged or be the centre of attention, then they may blush. The problem is that blushing may feel really obvious to others and that in turn can increase anxiety and increase blushing.

If we blush because of anxiety, embarrassment or stress, then it’s usually because we are in fight or flight. When we feel threatened our heart races, breathing quickens, and we get an adrenaline rush. More oxygen and blood is pumped around our body. The blood vessels in particular areas of our body (including our face and neck) widen allowing more blood and oxygen to flow there. This can explain why our face and neck go red. The more blood and oxygen in that area, the redder we go.

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How do you get rid of blushing?

Blushing can be treated in several ways. You can see your GP as there are some medications that can help. Another way of treating blushing is through Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). In CBT we look at why you are afraid of blushing and what keeps your fear going? Once we get a really good understanding of how your fear affects you, we look at strategies that you can try to challenge your anxious thoughts and try new ways of coping when you blush.

If blushing is affecting the quality of your life and you think it is caused by anxiety, why not give me a call on 0161 8831156 to find out more.

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Another presentation from our virtual conference was 'OCD may try to creep back, but we don’t have to let it in!' prepared by @Josiefam and delivered by @psalkovskis

You can watch the recording at - https://www.ocduk.org/conference/conference-map/main/ocd-may-try-to-creep-back/

OCD recovery is not easy, it takes practice and persistence.

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