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Date of last update: 8/24/2017.

Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: Anxiety,social phobia

 petersboro - Mon Jan 05, 2009 2:22 am

I have suffered from what I believe is General Anxiety Disorder or Social Phobia for as long as I can remember. Until now I have accepted it as part of life but as I approach 44 I am starting to understand it better and am less willing to deal with it or maybe have become more sensitive to it. These are my symptoms beginning with the most significant. I live in fear that someone (especially someone in authority over me) will discovering that I am slow. By slow I mean that my mind for some reason doesn't process thoughts quickly and it becomes obvious when I am being watched. To add to it when I know I am being watched my mind just shuts down and won't function. In order to try to compensate I run around in a panic all day at work trying to figure out how to keep up and avoid any exposure. My supervisor has made some rude comments that I over analyze until I slip into depression. This also adds to it. If I am asked to perform in any way I have to deal with overwhelming anticipatory worrying that is nearly unbearable. I have lousy posture. I have a terrible twitch in my shoulder that causes back problems. I have researched the medications but am not yet willing to deal with the side affects like dependency and drowsiness. What I think has happened is that for some reason my mind just doesn't process thoughts quickly and this has lead to social problems that has lead to the low self esteem and the phobias and anxiety. After 40 years of it I think that it has become very much a part of who I am. I have little hope that I have it in me to get through exposure therapy. I have been through some counseling to get me through a crisis but quit when it was over. From what I have learned I need a combination of cognitive therapy and medication but how can that solve the core problem of a slow mind? There has got to be a solution if I could just find the right person that knows how to help me.
Thank You
 Dr. K. Eisele - Tue Feb 10, 2009 1:36 am

User avatar Dear petersboro:

Anxiety is a lot like being chronically stifled, isn't it? The problem with anxiety is that it feeds upon itself and is truly a vicious cycle. For example, the anxious person is afraid that he will not be able to do X, and because of his fear, he does not do it well if he can even do it. He is uber-embarrassed and becomes phobic of ever doing X again. Once the phobia develops, it would be extremely hard for the anxious person to perform that task ever again--without help, that is.

So what can be done? There is good news! Anxiety is TREATABLE. You simply have to be willing to work with a psychiatrist. I think your thoughts are slow simply because you are afraid they will be slow. To try to track down the cause of this problem simply isn't worth it and probably isn't even possible since you've had it for so long.

Many medications for anxiety are sedating, but just as many are not. The kind that tend to be the most sedating are the class of drugs called benzodiazepines, and include alprazolam (Xanax), lorazepam (Ativan), diazepam (Valium), and Klonopin (clonazepam)--these are the most commonly used from this class. These medications can also be addicting in SOME patients. If you've ever had a problem with drugs or alcohol, these are not for you and likely are far more trouble than they are worth. The other type of medication that treats anxiety very effectively is the class of drugs called SSRIs (selective-serotonin-reuptake inhibitors). These medications are antidepressants as well. The only problem with these medicines is that they can take a long time to work (four to six weeks). Many doctors prescribe one of the benzodiazepines, usually clonazepam, along with an SSRI. The benzodiazepine is used for immediate relief until the SSRI begins to work. The benzodiazepine is for short-term use only.

Please see a physician for this problem. Anxiety is an awful thing to live with and often leads to depression. Good luck to you!

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