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Afraid of people
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by Telly, Aug 21, 1999
I was just wondering if anyone could give me a reason WHY i am so afraid of others.  I just turned 18 and i've had this fear for over 3 years now...i've been shy in the past but now it's just full blown avoid people at all cost kinda deal.  I can be with my friends, and i can be with family...but when i am around new people or new people come near i freeze can't talk and just have an overwhelming sense to run away...and i usually do. Family blows it off as shyness and says to get over it but i've tried and i can't. Can anyone help me?
Answer:
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by HFHS-M.D-H.G, Aug 27, 1999
Dear Telly,

                From the information that was  provided, it seems  you may have   Social phobia or what is now called Social Anxiety disorder . A phobia is an irrational fear that leads to a conscious avoidance of a feared activity, subject or situation and usually disrupt  people's ability to function in life. Phobias are one of the most common mental disorders in U.S. Social phobia is characterized  by a marked and persistent fear of   one or more social or performance situations in which the person  is exposed  to unfamiliar people or to possible scrutiny by others and exposure to the situation may  provoke anxiety. The person recognizes that the fear is excessive or unreasonable and avoids those situations. Often  people assume this is shyness rather than a bonafide medical condition. The good news is that this is a treatable disorder. A combination of medications particularly antidepressants called SSRI's ( Serotonin-specific reuptake inhibitors) and cognitive-behavioral therapy/ exposure techniques are helpful in this condition.

             Another possible diagnosis is Avoidant Personality disorder. People with this disorder  are hypersensitive to rejection and may lead a socially withdrawn life. They are not asocial and show a great desire for companionship but are characterized as being timid with low self-esteem. I would recommend that you contact a trained Mental Health Professional for a comprehensive evaluation. For scheduling an appointment at Henry Ford Hospital Behavioral Services Clinic, you may call (248)-689-7476. This information is provided for general educational purposes only and should not replace evaluation by a physician.


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Member Comments (6)
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by Aliosha, Aug 22, 1999
Dear Telly,

My mother had symptoms that sound like yours for years until she (1) started an MAOI antidepressant called Parnate, and (2) started Cognitive-Therapy with a psychologist.After these treatments she was able to walk out of her crippling shyness. Her condition was diagnosed as "Social Phobia". Why don't you look up Social Phobia on the Web and think about therapies? God Bless.
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by Telly, Aug 22, 1999
Thanks...that is one suggestion i can look up....but as for the therapy....i can't afford it and my family thinks i'm overreacting and thinks nothing of it. But i definatly will look it up Thanks.

Telly
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by annie, Aug 23, 1999
Hi Telly,
You are not over reacting and you are not alone. I too feels uneasy with people. Last year I went to a life strategy seminar,
and the life strategist suggested that I for once get out of my comfort box, and instead of being shy, I should say Hi to people first. . . well it works for a couple of months until my cycle of
'people paranoia' starts again.

annie
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by Telly, Aug 24, 1999
Annie...well. I to have tried that...but after i say hi it's kinda awkward and then i get scared so then i run. I finally got frustrated and quit trying.... and now no one really notices me anymore anyway. but maybe i try again... school starts tommorow and i'm scared to death
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by lisa, Aug 24, 1999
There are mental health clinics in most cities that are subsidized by the city/county.  These clinics provide therapy (and often they have a doctor on staff who can prescribe medication if that's necesary) and clients are charged according to their ability to pay.  Because you're 18 you can go without invovlement from your family and the cost will depend on whatever income you personally earn.  I would really encourage you to give this a try.  The first therapist I had was at a clinic like this, she was great, and it was one of the best things I've done in my life.