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Date of last update: 8/24/2017.

Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: Self awareness, Social interaction issues.

 elephant23 - Wed Sep 16, 2009 8:00 pm

I'm 25 years old, male with no prior medical issues. For the past few years i have been avoiding social contact with people. I dropped out of school and have been living at home for awhile. Only recently have i been back into a real social environment (school) and am beginning to become self aware. I now have a staring problem. When i sit next to someone in class and their face is in my vision of view, it attracts my attention and can't focus on the lecture. I try to avoid it, but it gets worst as I do. So from then on, whenever I see their faces. I take a quick glance and look away. This keeps perpetuating and i start to sweat and get nervous wondering if the person notices what I am doing( and a lot of times they do). Now I'm freaking out trying to avoid look at them even more. I am now continually self conscious of doing that where i look down when people pass me by while walking. Which causes me to take a quick glance again. This has now transferred to family members where I can't have their face in my vision of view. I have no idea how to stop this and become normal again. I was a normal person until dropping out and began my social exclusion. I know I need to be more socially active. When I do try to be, this focus on something comes back to me and I'm scared that they'll notice I notice them. I now have high anxiety over this issue.
 Faye Lang, RN, MSW - Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:47 pm

Hello, elephant23,

I apologize that this response is so late in coming. I hope that your issue has resolved by now, but just in case, I will provide some information that may be useful to you and to others who might read your post.

I believe you have accurately identified the area that fits your issues - a form of anxiety, although it may be a severe one. Your repeated staring behavior and social discomfort seem to be obsessive behaviors that are becoming more compulsive, and you haven't been able to interrupt the progression. It becomes a rather vicious cycle, as you have been experiencing. The actual diagnosis can be made only after a detailed psychological interview by a psychiatrist or psychologist. Treatment can be very effective, and would probably include antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications. It may include long term use of such medications, but that is worth it to most people since it helps them return to a more stable place in their lives.

I wish you the very best of luck and recovery.

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