Medical Specialty >> Psychiatry

Doctors Lounge - Psychiatry Answers

Back to Psychiatry Answers List

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. Doctors Lounge ( does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the Site.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided on is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her physician. Please read our 'Terms and Conditions of Use' carefully before using this site.

Date of last update: 8/24/2017.

Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: Social anxiety?

 scaredy_phoebe - Thu Aug 28, 2008 10:04 am

I've been extremely shy as long as I can remember, but recently it's started interfering with my life. I'm trying to train to be an elementary teacher, and have scraped through 3 years of my 4 year course, but I'm now failing. Even though I'm fine around kids, teachers and tutors watching me teach makes me extremely anxious, and talking to other adults is terrifying. I avoid using the phone useless I absolutely have to, and even get nervous about emailing people (I'm worried I'll say something stupid). If I don't understand something in class or how to do an assignment I'll ask one of my friends, but never the tutor. Being made to do presentations in class makes me stutter, forget what I'm saying and I can't even read from notes without mixing up the words!

Because I have now failed two teaching placements in a row and can't do 4th year until I pass I finally plucked up the courage to go see a counsellor at university. She's really nice, but I find it near impossible to talk to her and get really anxious both waiting to see her and while I'm there. She said she thinks I have social anxiety, and told me to go to my doctor. He's referring me to a psychiatrist- and everyone keeps saying I'm ill. I'm not ill! Speaking to people in authority, especially medical people and tutors/teachers is what makes my anxiety the worst. Needless to say, I'm absolutely terrified about seeing this psychiatrist! What will they do? I won't have to say a lot, will I?
 Dr. E. Seigle - Sat Aug 30, 2008 7:52 pm

Dear scaredy_phoebe,

It does sound likely that you have a social anxiety disorder. It's probably to your advantage that you are experiencing the anxiety while working with your counselor, as that way she and you can work on developing strategies to lessen your anxiety right then and there while you are having your session. In general, cognitive-behavioral therapy is helpful for this disorder, and in tandem with an appropriate medication, such as an SSRI or a benzodiazepine, you should be able to do even better. Your psychiatrist will choose an appropriate medication. Try to be sure you receive a combination of both psychotherapy and medication, avoiding the use of only one of these modalities. Good luck,you are on the right track, and remember that it is okay to feel afraid and to learn to be able to show it. The fear of showing fear will only worsen the fear; try to have it be okay.

Good luck! -Eliot Seigle MD

 Dr. E. Seigle - Sat Aug 30, 2008 7:59 pm

Dear scaredy__phoebe,

You do likely have a social anxiety disorder, and you are on the right track; you should have both cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy, and will likely benefit in addition from a medication, either from the SSRI or SNRI classes or the benzodiazepine family. Try to be sure to receive both modalities of treatment. You should be proud for taking on your fear, and remember that it's okay to feel afraid. If you allow the fear to be present and don't resist it, you will already be started on diminishing the anxiety. Good luck! -Eliot Seigle MD
 scaredy_phoebe - Sun Aug 31, 2008 5:12 am

I've got an appointment with the psychiatrist next Monday, so I'll let you know how it goes. In regards to medication, I have a food intolerence to colorings, and cannot swallow tablets, so I normally have to take kids stuff (like color free motrin!). I find it near impossible to find meds that aren't colored- it's a nightmare.
 scaredy_phoebe - Mon Sep 08, 2008 4:24 pm

Had my first appointment with a psychiatrist today. She was really nice, and is prescibing me an anti-depressant. When it came to therapy though, she wanted me to stay at the hospital for 2 weeks as an inpatient. Just the thought of staying in a hospital (even though it looks like a hotel) terrifies me, so I said no. Instead I have to be a day patient and go there every day by bus. I thought only really crazy people got admitted as inpatients to psychiatric hospitals? I didn't think my social anxiety was *that* bad!
 hachi - Tue Mar 24, 2009 12:56 pm

How come your doctor wanted you to stay at the hospital? From what I read, we are almost the same (except for the email part). I have a hard time talking too especially if I don't know the person that well or I am in a group. I also read your other posts and I have also been bullied when I was younger because of the same reasons. The thought of having social anxiety went through mind so I asked the doctor I went to before and she said I can talk to people so I have no social anxiety just like that so I thought since I can talk to some people I guess she is right but I still have that uneasiness sometimes to the point that I perspire so much and my hearing becomes somewhat impaired and I get dizzy that I feel like I might lose consciousness.

| Check a doctor's response to similar questions

Are you a Doctor, Pharmacist, PA or a Nurse?

Join the Doctors Lounge online medical community

  • Editorial activities: Publish, peer review, edit online articles.

  • Ask a Doctor Teams: Respond to patient questions and discuss challenging presentations with other members.

Doctors Lounge Membership Application

Tools & Services: Follow DoctorsLounge on Twitter Follow us on Twitter | RSS News | Newsletter | Contact us