Anxiety disorders are one of the most common groups of psychiatric disorders. It seems you may have Social phobia or what is now called Social Anxiety Disorder.
Social Anxiety Disorder 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 and cognitive -behavioral therapy seem to be effective in the treatment of anxiety disorders. SSRI (Serotonin Specific Reuptake Inhibitors) such as Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa are the drugs of choice. Other medications like benzodiazepines, tricyclic antidepressants and MAOI's are proven to be effective.
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 People with this disorder are hypersensitive to rejection and may lead a socially withdrawn life.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.
There are other forms of anxiety, such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder, in which people unreasonably and excessively worry. The person has a number of associated physical symptoms such as restlessness, irritability, muscle tension, etc.
I would recommend that you contact a Mental Health Professional for an evaluation.
HFHS MD -RG
*KEYWORD: SOCIAL ANXIETY
Denny, I am not a physician, but your symptoms, as you have described them, seem somewhat similar to mine. If you are interested, please see my question, posted 9/14/99, re: Social Phobia/Social Anxiety Disorder. There is a physician's response and several comments, as well. Hope it helps. Good luck. Cindy