Mental Health

Have Mental Health Questions? Ask a Psychiatrist Online

Ask an Expert,
Get an Answer ASAP!

Mental Health

I wondered,odd question, what should I do if I feel that I

Customer Question
may be suffering slightly with...
I wondered,odd question, what should I do if I feel that I may be suffering slightly with Agraphobia? I am not sure if that's what it is. I could do with some help and advice
Submitted: 5 years ago.Category: Mental Health
Show More
Show Less
Ask Your Own Mental Health Question
Answered in 3 minutes by:
4/1/2012
Mental Health Professional: Howard Wise, Counselor replied 5 years ago
Howard Wise
Howard Wise, Counselor
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 650
Experience: Counseling with a compassionate ear and a loving heart.
Verified
Hi, this is Howard,

Do you mean "agoraphobia" an anxiety disorder? What are your symptoms?
Ask Your Own Mental Health Question
Customer reply replied 5 years ago
Sorry I may have wrong word.
Basically going to work is ok, coming home is ok. If I have to go to a shop or somewhere other than work I feel like I want to hide, I will do all I can to avoid that trip. As though if I do it I'd rather have all the car windows blacked out so I can't be seen, the idea of walking down the high street terrifies me. I shake all over if I know I have to go anywhere where I may not be in control of I may see or bump into
Mental Health Professional: Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist replied 5 years ago
Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5,334
Experience: Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
Verified

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

First let me say that I can imagine how overwhelming and frustrating this situation must be for you. It seems like you may have been having these symptoms of anxiety and social phobia for a long time and I'm concerned that you haven't had proper treatment. I don't know what type of psychotherapy options are available on the Isle of Man. YOu need to have psychotherapy that is specific to social phobia, because Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been show to be more effective for social phobia than medications. And it's a shame that you haven't had this opportunity till now to explore this treatment.

This is really what you need to be referred to: ***** ***** or psychotherapist who is familiar with anxiety and phobic disorders. It's very important that the therapist be experienced with phobias and social phobia (one of the most common) and practices CBT therapy.

I'll give you some techniques you can work on at home to help with the social phobia and to get you started. I'll also at the end of the answer give you a behavioral technique to get started with this. You can use this technique throughout the day when you are having anxiety. It is not a cure; it is something you can use to help yourself.

Let's work on five ways you can begin to build a behavioral program for yourself: diet, exercise, spiritual life, motivational reading and psychotherapy. The first four are to help you feel more involved and in control of yourself and what's going on inside. The psychotherapy is the main treatment and can actually teach you skills and give you tools for managing your symptoms.

Diet: cut out coffee, sugar, white flour. That may be tough. But you will see results as some of the newer research shows. And lean meats only. No fast food restaurants, no fatty foods. See what I mean about getting involved in controlling what's happening? With diet changes you are treating your problem with respect: you are acknowledging you need to make changes to get your body feeling better.

Vitamins can be useful for moods. A good quality daily vitamin, for example. One of the most important supplements is Omega 3 fatty acids, either in fish oil or capsules or in flax seed oil. Buy good quality. The clinical dosage is 800 to 3,000 mg daily. All these things you should get at the biggest and most frequented health food store and ask them for the best brands they trust in terms of quality.

Exercise: 5 days a week moderate exercise, to include 3 days of strength training as you get more used to it. Pretty amazing isn't it? I told you it would require work, but what you put in to it you will get out of it. Your doctor will verify the research results showing the benefit. You are a young person so you may want to make the program more intensive.

Spiritual life: the medical literature is now rather overwhelming about the benefits to so many different areas of physical health of regular religious and spiritual practice. Going to church, meditation, etc. are all shown to produce benefits to the physical body. What about our mental health? Well, you will see that meditation is now a regular part of psychotherapy interventions. I don't know if you're a religious person or not. But if not, this may be a good time in your life to tune up your spiritual life. If you do not believe in G-d, that's not a barrier to your own spiritual life. Just thinking about the meaning of your life, of life in general, and studying spiritual texts and practices will help with the social phobia.

Then along with exploring the spiritual part of life, I want you to get really into motivational videos and books. Here's a simple YouTube search I put together for you on "motivational speakers":

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=motivational+speakers&aq=f

Some like Tony Robbins are the classic big guys. Some are newer. Watch them all. Get inspired. Buy a book or two. Here are some possibilities, but they are only suggestions as there are so many good ones.

The first book is the father of all these type of books. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. There are classes in these books now! It was written in the 1930s and still has something to say to us today that is very worthwhile.

I think very highly of the second book on my list, which is a real classic: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. It is the book that has helped more people than probably any other.

The third book is by Anthony Robbins. He's one of those speakers who fills up huge auditoriums. For a reason. He's a terrific speaker and writer. The particular book (if you like it, try his others): Awaken the Giant Within.


Your doctor may refer you to a psychiatrist. But you need to know: a psychiatrist focuses on medications. And medications for phobias do not address the actual phobia. It only addresses the anxiety that comes from the phobia. But the ability to manage the social phobia is what you have to work on and meds won't address that.

So let's work on the type of therapy you need to undertake to get this phobia under control and managed. That's first. Second, we're going to use the technique I'm giving you at the end of my answer called Progressive Muscle Relaxation. Let's get started:

I want you to picture yourself and other people in a social situation (SS). This can be going to the store or something as intense as a party. As soon as the anxiety rises, as you're picturing the SS I want you to start practicing the PMR, okay? It needs to be really familiar to you.

So at first I want you to slowly imagine yourself going to an SS. Start at home in your imagination getting ready to go, then imagine going out the door, imagine getting into the car, driving or riding, getting out of the car, going in the door. Get the idea? Step by step.

And with each step, you pay close attention to what you're feeling. And when you feel anxiety, you do your PMR. And you tell yourself your feel good statement: It will soon be over and I can go have a treat. (Whether that treat is relaxing on the couch, an iced coffee, lunch out, whatever.) You can make your own feel good statement. It just has to be something that makes you feel a little brighter.

Then you continue with the imagining of the steps. You keep going until you've imagined all the way to leaving the SS. This may take a few times or a lot of times before you can imagine all the different steps without having overwhelming anxiety. But keep working at it. This is phobia work.

If there's a party or function or event coming up that you can use for this, even better. Or best, ***** ***** for going to the store. Because as you can imagine: the next step will be to not just imagine the SS but to actually go. And to do your PMR in the car, etc. as you are actually having the experience. And then eventually, you will become less and less anxious as you gain experience with this.

This is what you will most likely be doing with a psychotherapist to help with this. The preferred form of treatment today is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to learn skills like I've been teaching you. Here is the American Amazon web page address for the classic workbook for phobias by Edmund Bourne:

http://www.amazon.com/Anxiety-Phobia-Workbook-Fourth/dp/1572244135/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1286170992&sr=1-1

So you need to ask for a referral from your doctor or friends for a psychologist or licensed psychotherapist. Of if you need to go to the mainland, then do that.

Okay, that should help you get working on these symptoms and get some relief.

I wish you the very best!

Now, I want to give you a tool to use for when the anxiety is present for you. It is quite easy to do almost anywhere. My patients suffering from anxiety, when I teach them PMR at first are amazed how simple it is and that it is a psychological protocol. It was first used in the 1920s! Since then, of course, it has been refined and many studies have been done showing its effectiveness. You will practice PMR at first so that you will be familiar with it. I want you to practice the PMR at least 5-6 times before feeling acute anxiety. Why? Because when you're in the throes of anxiety, you will only remember to do something you are very familiar with it. So practicing 5-6 times is really a minimum.

I want to stress the importance of breathing as well. Part of the physiology of what is happening to you in anxiety states is that your breathing is getting shallower. This reduces the oxygen in your blood to your brain. That increases the anxiety reaction, which strengthens the attack and you are in a vicious cycle! Not good. So breathing is the primary tool. I have found in my practice that learning breathing techniques can be helpful. But some of my patients are not interested in learning more than one thing at the beginning, so I have found that just reminding you to BREATHE deeply at the same time you are doing PMR is almost as good. If you are willing to take a yoga class and learn breathing techniques, that's the best. But, breathing deeply with your PMR will help.

So, we're ready for learning PMR. I want you to print my instructions below my signature and have a copy in each of the rooms of your home where you may be when you have an attack. And again, you need to practice this easy technique at least 5-6 times as soon as you can. It needs to become as natural to you as breathing. Ah, remember breathing?


INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. After finding a quiet place and several free minutes to practice progressive muscle relaxation, sit or lie down and make yourself comfortable.
  2. Begin by tensing all the muscles in your face. Make a tight grimace, close your eyes as tightly as possible, clench your teeth, even move your ears up if you can. Hold this for the count of eight as you inhale.
  3. Now exhale and relax completely. Let your face go completely lax, as though you were sleeping. Feel the tension seep from your facial muscles, and enjoy the feeling.
  4. Next, completely tense your neck and shoulders, again inhaling and counting to eight. Then exhale and relax.
  5. Continue down your body, repeating the procedure with the following muscle groups:
    • chest
    • abdomen
    • entire right arm
    • right forearm and hand (making a fist)
    • right hand
    • entire left arm
    • left forearm and hand (again, making a fist)
    • left hand
    • buttocks
    • entire right leg
    • lower right leg and foot
    • right foot
    • entire left leg
    • lower left leg and foot
    • left foot
  6. for the shortened version, which includes just four main muscle groups:
    • face
    • neck, shoulders and arms
    • abdomen and chest
    • buttocks, legs and feet

Quickly focusing on each group one after the other, with practice you can relax your body like ‘liquid relaxation’ poured on your head and it flowed down and completely covered you. You can use progressive muscle relaxation to quickly de-stress any time.

What You Need:

  • A comfortable place.
  • Some privacy.
  • A few minutes.

Again:

Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5,334
Experience: Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
Verified
Dr. Mark and 87 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Ask your own question now
Ask Dr. Mark Your Own Question
Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5,334
5,334 Satisfied Customers
Experience: Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice

Dr. Mark is online now

A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How JustAnswer works:

  • Ask an ExpertExperts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional AnswerVia email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction GuaranteeRate the answer you receive.

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much

Corrie MollPretoria, South Africa

I thank-you so much! It really helped to have this information and confirmation. We will watch her carefully and get her in for the examination and US right away if things do not improve. God bless you as well!

ClaudiaAlbuquerque, NM

Outstanding response time less than 6 minutes. Answered the question professionally and with a great deal of compassion.

KevinBeaverton, OR

Suggested diagnosis was what I hoped and will take this info to my doctor's appointment next week.
I feel better already! Thank you.

ElanorTracy, CA

Thank you to the Physician who answered my question today. The answer was far more informative than what I got from the Physicians I saw in person for my problem.

JulieLockesburg, AR

You have been more help than you know. I seriously don't know what my sisters situation would be today if you had not gone above and beyond just answering my questions.

John and StefanieTucson, AZ

I have been dealing with an extremely serious health crisis for over three years, and one your physicians asked me more questions, gave me more answers and encouragement than a dozen different doctors who have been treating me!!

Janet VPhoenix, AZ

< Previous | Next >

Meet the Experts:

Dr. Keane

Dr. Keane

Therapist

1,379 satisfied customers

Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.

TherapistMarryAnn

TherapistMarryAnn

Therapist

4,021 satisfied customers

Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.

Dr. Olsen

Dr. Olsen

Psychologist

2,336 satisfied customers

PsyD Psychologist

Norman M.

Norman M.

Principal psychotherapist in private practice. Newspaper contributor, over 2000 satisfied clients on JA

2,246 satisfied customers

ADHP(NC), DEHP(NC), ECP, UKCP Registered.

Dr. Michael

Dr. Michael

Psychologist

2,177 satisfied customers

Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.

Steven Olsen

Steven Olsen

Therapist

1,728 satisfied customers

More than twenty years of expertise in counseling, psychological diagnosis and education

Anna

Anna

Mental Health Professional

1,656 satisfied customers

Licensed Clinical Social Worker with 29 years in addictions and mental health.

< Previous | Next >

Related Mental Health Questions
I suffer from anxiety, and have been taking Ativan 0.5mg,
I suffer from anxiety, and have been taking Ativan 0.5mg, one a day for 23 years. Recently my doctor told me, (because of some anxiety issues) I could take up to three of my 0.5mg Ativan. Is there a p… read more
LeahMSWuofm
LeahMSWuofm
Clinical Social Worker
Master\u0027s Degree
772 satisfied customers
I'm a Bipolar 36 year-old male with severe anxiety and
I'm a Bipolar 36 year-old male with severe anxiety and depression. What is the best anxiety medicine I should be taken? I've taken Clonazepam for 8 years and it no longer helps. Would another drug lik… read more
Dr. Phil, MD
Dr. Phil, MD
Internal Medicine Physician
Doctoral Degree
2,679 satisfied customers
I am currently weaning from one anxiety medications to
I am currently weaning from one anxiety medications to another for hypochondriasis. I am under the guidance of my psychiatrist. I am finding my health worries are very high whilst I am switching meds.… read more
LeahMSWuofm
LeahMSWuofm
Clinical Social Worker
Master\u0027s Degree
772 satisfied customers
I was diagnosed with social anxiety by my psychiatrist at 16
Hi Dr. Wilson, I was diagnosed with social anxiety by my psychiatrist at 16 years old. Fast forward 6 years, and I feel like I am still struggling. I am always nervous when it comes to social engageme… read more
Therapist Leslie
Therapist Leslie
Masters, Professional Psychology
5 satisfied customers
I have anxiety and recently think it is playing tricks with
Second opinion] Hi. I have anxiety and recently think it is playing tricks with my eyes. Is this possible? Sometimes feel things are moving when there not etc. Thank you… read more
Dr. Kaushik
Dr. Kaushik
PSYCHIATRIST ( MD Psychiatry)
Doctoral Degree
204 satisfied customers
My adult daughter is struggling tremendously with anxiety
My adult daughter is struggling tremendously with anxiety and depression. She is on prozac but it's not helping that much. What is the best way to treat depression and anxiety in your opinion. She doe… read more
LeahMSWuofm
LeahMSWuofm
Clinical Social Worker
Master\u0027s Degree
772 satisfied customers
I have anxiety and recently think it is playing tricks with
Hi. I have anxiety and recently think it is playing tricks with my eyes. Is this possible? Sometimes feel things are moving when there not etc. Thank you… read more
Dr. Phil, MD
Dr. Phil, MD
Internal Medicine Physician
Doctoral Degree
2,679 satisfied customers
I've been taking Prozac and Buspar for some anxiety and
I've been taking Prozac and Buspar for some anxiety and depression. My therapist just added Abilify to help with some lingering depression. At first she was going to add Wellbutrin but decided on Abil… read more
LeahMSWuofm
LeahMSWuofm
Clinical Social Worker
Master\u0027s Degree
772 satisfied customers
I have issues with anxiety. I meet with a behavioral
I have issues with anxiety. I meet with a behavioral therapist and have practices to help with my anxiety, but I'm feeling super anxious with some current ongoing stress that may continue for the next… read more
LeahMSWuofm
LeahMSWuofm
Clinical Social Worker
Master\u0027s Degree
772 satisfied customers
Im struggling with anxiety and depression and i have taken
im struggling with anxiety and depression and i have taken several medications cymbalta cipralax and now i am on a new one i forget what it is called … read more
LeahMSWuofm
LeahMSWuofm
Clinical Social Worker
Master\u0027s Degree
772 satisfied customers
Various diagnosis since 2010; generalized anxiety was the
Various diagnosis since 2010; generalized anxiety was the most popular. PTSD diagnosis in 2016 because of a loss of a child in 2009 as well as the end of my 10 year relationship in 2013. Possible re t… read more
LeahMSWuofm
LeahMSWuofm
Clinical Social Worker
Master\u0027s Degree
772 satisfied customers
Is this a paid service? History of depression and anxiety.
Past 8 months. Relationship problems make it worse.… read more
Therapist Leslie
Therapist Leslie
Masters, Professional Psychology
5 satisfied customers
OKMH124211 What is the vest way to prevent anxiety, gain
OKMH124211 What is the vest way to prevent anxiety, gain more self confidence and get rid of tmj syndrome-sometimes teeth grinding affects night into daytime as a bad habit?… read more
Linda D.
Linda D.
Master\u0027s Degree
795 satisfied customers
I have generalized anxiety disorder with panic attacks that
I have generalized anxiety disorder with panic attacks that I treat and keep managed with BCT, exercise, eating a well balanced diet, and breathing exercises. For the most part this works well. This p… read more
TherapistMarryAnn
TherapistMarryAnn
Therapist
Master's Degree
4,021 satisfied customers
I have generalized anxiety disorder with panic attacks at
I have generalized anxiety disorder with panic attacks at times. For the most part I have improved a great deal through BCT and other lifestyle changes. I had it terrible after I quit smoking for abou… read more
Linda D.
Linda D.
Master\u0027s Degree
795 satisfied customers
I would like to know if it is possible for anxiety to cause
Hello,I would like to know if it is possible for anxiety to cause bladderproblems like urinary retention and bladder overactivity. Like if you fear it and you are constantly conscious regarding it, it… read more
TherapistMarryAnn
TherapistMarryAnn
Therapist
Master's Degree
4,021 satisfied customers
I've had anxiety due to trauma... I've had anxiety due to
Hello, I've had anxiety due to trauma... Hello, I've had anxiety due to trauma in the city I lived in, I moved out to a different city, I accidentally spoke to somebody associated with the trauma , in… read more
Vakul Aren
Vakul Aren
Consultant Physician
Post graduation (Liverpool, U.K.)
3,983 satisfied customers
I I have extreme anxiety especially social anxiety I over
I I have extreme anxiety especially social anxiety I over worry about everything and I have PTSD from being stabbed and assaulted I've been prescribed Xanax for years and I got up to 2 mg which was wo… read more
Vakul Aren
Vakul Aren
Consultant Physician
Post graduation (Liverpool, U.K.)
3,983 satisfied customers
Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.

Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.

Show MoreShow Less

Ask Your Question

x