Psychiatrist Questions Anxiety

I am very shy in public. What can I do?

I am extremely shy to talk to in public. I almost get panic attacks when I talk in front of people and I get very nauseous. I'm so tired of feeling like this. What should I do?

5 Answers

Most likely you have a "social phobia," which belongs to anxiety disorders. You should see a psychiatrist who can diagnose you correctly and prescribe adequate treatment. The treatment may involve medications, 1 on 1 counseling, or self-study material. There are books on how to control the phobia. Antidepressant and anti-anxiety meds are very effective as well. Do not hesitate to see a doctor asap. Good treatment will change your life.
Psychotherapy and medications, especially SSRIs. Get a medical check-up, though.
Social anxiety is one of the most common anxiety disorders and is the fear of scrutiny by others Specific social anxieties can include fear of public speaking, fear of using public restrooms, fear of ordering in a restaurant, fear of writing a check...among many others. People with generalized social anxiety have a phobia across many different situations involving scrutiny by others ( dinner parties, mingling, meeting new people, dating). Treatment usually involves medication management with SSRIs ( such as Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, etc). combined with cognitive behavioral therapy. In addition, people might use benzodiazepines or beta blockers for specific events which cause anxiety. Regardless, this is a very treatable condition.
You may have what is called in psychiatry a social phobia. The best thing you can do is to find a cognitive therapist and invest in therapy. A true cognitive therapist has invested in training for this type of therapy - you should ask explicitly.

Jan Fawcett, MD
Anxiety in social situations is almost universal. In some cases, however, social anxiety is more extreme, causing problems with relationships, employment, and education. One such cause for this is called social anxiety disorder. It is a very common mental health issue (5%-12% prevalence in the U.S.). Fortunately, there are effective treatments including therapy and sometimes medications. If you think this may be a problem for you, I would recommend being evaluated by a psychiatrist who is trained to diagnose and treat this and other related mental health issues.