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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5220
Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
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Hi, I was looking for a forum to write about a problem I

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I was looking for a forum to write about a problem I have for a year now. And I found you, so I'll give a shot.
My name isXXXXX 21 ans, a year ago I started to act weird, it is a feeling which grew in me and now it is very difficult to live with it every day. I feel insecure all the time, I find hard to look at people in the eyes (I look at the wall for example), I do not feel comfortable with people around, I have the feeling that everybody is looking at me, watching me and it makes me very uncomfortable, it is the same at school. I cannot stop thinking about it. I cannot live my life the way I want. For example, going to the hairdresser, go wash my car, going to work is very difficult. I avoid people a lot because i cannot deal with them anymore. I'm very anxious about it. I feel constantly watched at work, in my car, everywhere... The only place where I feel safe is my bedroom because I'm alone. I was nt like this a year ago, I like people, being around them,etc I usually initiate conversations. I always have been kind of shy with girls and I do not have a girlfriend for 3 years now and again I wouldn't mind one but I'm incapable to deal with anybody. I don't feel comfortable even with my own mother. About my moods: well I kind of tense sometimes because I'm preocupied with what's happening to me or when I want to be alone ans somebody is coming around me. Aside that I have the same regular temper of mine, funny and easy going. I'm kind of ashame of myself for being like this without any explainations and because I cannot fight it and overcome it. I was looking for a professionnal to help me, I do not know who to pick for this task.

Can you help me out and tell me if I really need to see someone? Do you think I actually have something wrong? Any solutions?

Thank you in advance.

Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 5 years ago.

Hi, Alexander! I believe I can be of help with this issue.

First, let me say I can imagine how overwhelming this situation must be for you. On the one hand you feel okay in most ways. But on the other hand you are feeling anxiety and more than that, you are becoming less and less able to be around people.

And this is actually the key to my answer to you that you need to consider and think about. Your question is whether I think something is actually wrong? And the answer is that of course something is actually wrong.

In the area of mental health, the way we determine if something is wrong is by looking at whether the symptoms are causing the person to lose ability to function within the normal range of functionality. So for example, everyone sometimes feels like they just don't want to see people and so they don't answer the doorbell or they don't answer their phone. They just want to be left alone. That happens to everyone once in a while. BUT, when that feeling becomes overpowering and the person begins to not be able to be comfortable at all around people and it is interfering with their normal relationships and social life, then that's when we say that something is wrong.

There are a number of possibilities of what might be happening. Let's start with the most common problem and you can see if that helps and takes care of the situation. If not, then you can move on to considering other problems that are not so common. The common problem I am referring to is anxiety disorder with social phobia. There might also be developing another phobia called agoraphobia. Having phobias develop along with anxiety disorders is rather common in mental health disorders. So this is a good place to start.

By start I mean that you should look for a psychologist or psychotherapist who is experienced with working with anxiety disorders and phobias. The preferred form of treatment today is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to learn skills. If this is insufficient, medications are indicated. Here is the Amazon web page address for the classic workbook for phobias by Edmund Bourne:

Here is the web address for Psychology Today's therapist directory. You can sort by zip codes and when you see someone who seems like they might be helpful (you can see a photo of the therapist!) look at the listing and see if they list anxiety disorders in what they work on and CBT in their orientations.

So, I want you to not be overly worried because anxiety disorders and phobias have been studied more than most other mental health disorders and treatment today is very effective. So begin with therapy and see if this is enough to take care of this problem.

I wish you the very best!

Please remember to click the green accept button. Feel free to continue the discussion; my goal is to get you the best answers possible. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue, just put "for Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX

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