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Date of last update: 8/24/2017.

Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: Panic when I have to laough

 SpartanSpirit - Wed Nov 11, 2009 10:54 am

I am 36, male, and I have been facing this problem since my mid-puberty. I do not know if it is a disorter, mental issue or anything else but I am dying to know. My symptoms sound similar to panic attacks but it doesn't happen without a reason.

The first sights started when I was at school. When suddenly I became the center of interest and everybody would look at me, or at situations where I would be cought as "guilty", sometimes this thing was happening to me: I blacked out, didn't know how to react, what to say. I had to smile because things were not so serious but I couldn't. I could not give any expression to my face and I looked as if I was so embarassed and offended but this was not at all reasonable. The first thought is just stand up and run away but this has never been in my personality. I am usually social and with good humour. I am the entertainer at social gatherings and I receive good respect and apreciation from people. This problem slept for many years and it would appear only very rarely. Lately, during the past 3-5 years it started again. The problem is that once it starts, it goes on forever because every time I think that a joke that someone is returning to me will get me into that situation, it happens to me only by the thought. After this I fell into deep depression for a long period because I know it will happen again. Then I stop making jokes, I stop socialising because it may happen again.

Now, at 36, it usually happens when someone makes a joke to me which even though I like, I may think that I will have this "panic" because maybe I can't smile or maybe I don't know how to react, and there it happens. It will go away immediately when we change subject or if I find something to say. Usually in those situations, I don't have anything to say although most of the times I am quite ready for any challenge. Note that I like it when people will make jokes on me or tease me because anyway I sometimes do it myself. I expose myself to something funny to make people laugh, so it's not that I don't accept jokes or teasing.

The main summary of the above is that when I cannot find words to say and a way to react, I will panic, get an expression as if someone has died and feel that I want to run away.

Please explain to me if this is a disorter, mental weakness or just shyness.
 Faye Lang, RN, MSW - Fri Jul 16, 2010 7:24 pm

Hello, SpartanSpirit,

I apologize for the long delay in responding to your question. Your symptoms do appear to be related to a form of social anxiety, and very likely would be helped by cognitive-behavioral therapy, and possibly by medication assistance during your treatment. A clear diagnosis cannot be made without a detailed clinical interview, as you would receive from a psychiatrist or psychologist. You can find a private psychiatrist or psychologist, or make an appointment with a local public mental health agency. Such agencies generally base their charges on the person's ability to pay. I hope this information is helpful to you. Good luck!

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