Niacin Flushes More when we are Worried About What Others Think

Written by on October 11, 2011 in blushing, depression & anxiety with 0 Comments

Continuing his research in facial flushing and anxiety, Dr. Peter Drummond from Murdoch University has published  some new research on social anxiety and facial flushing.

The trial found that Niacin, which is known to induce a facial flush, actually causes more flushing in people that worry about what others think of them.

By blinding participants to whether they were given Niacin or placebo, and measuring facial blood flow, and further interviewing all participants, the trial was able to show that participants who worry more about what others think of them will also flush more.

Researchers call this `worry more’ condition an Elevated Fear of Negative Evaluation.

What Does This Mean?

I take this to further confirm that for some sufferers of facial flushing, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy may be a useful treatment method.

The effect of niacin on facial blood flow in people with an elevated fear of negative evaluation.

Eur Neuropsychopharmacol., 2011 Aug 17., Drummond PD, Lazaroo D.

The vasodilator niacin may provoke greater facial flushing and other symptoms of anxiety in patients with social anxiety disorder than in non-anxious controls. To determine whether this also applies in non-clinical samples, niacin (100mg) or placebo was administered double-blind to 33 young adults and flushing was investigated in relation to fear of negative evaluation (a cardinal feature of social anxiety).

Increases in facial blood flow were greater in people with high than low fear of negative evaluation in the niacin condition, but were similar in both groups in the placebo condition. However, changes in pulse rate and ratings of embarrassment, anxiety, blushing and facial heat were similar in both groups in both drug conditions.

These findings suggest that the facial vessels of people with a heightened fear of negative evaluation are particularly responsive to niacin under conditions of low anxiety and embarrassment.

Keywords: Facial blood flow; Vasodilatation; Niacin; Fear of negative evaluation; Social anxiety

We also know from Blushing Propensity and Psychological Distress in People with Rosacea that the stress and fear of blushing can be mitigated by psychological intervention such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Task Concentration Training.

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About the Author: David Pascoe started the Rosacea Support Group in October 1998. .

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