Our expert says:
Maybe there's a background of a degree of social anxiety disorder, if you're reluctant to shop among other people, but what you're describing sounds very like a panic attack.
This happens when your physical and mental alarm system switches on inappropriately, like a car alarm being set off when a cat jumps on the bonnet, and one feels as though you're going to die, have a heart attack, or go mad ( or all three !)- because at that time, your body and brain are being flooded with exactly the same chemials that would be flaring up if you were actually being attacked by a tiger. Its very unpleasant.
And one of the snags with such anxiety attacks is that if one leaves them untreated, and start avoiding activities or places where you think they might occur, you may become increasingly handicapped by such precautions.
Fortunately, this all responds really well to treatment. One should see a good local shrink for assessment and copnfirmation of the diagnosis, and the best treatment is usually a combination of medications ( mainly some also used to treat depression ) and a special form of counselling called CBT ( Cognitive-behaviour Therapy ). You should soon be able to bring all this back under control, and regain the freedom to shop and do other such activities whenever you wish, without dreading more such attacks
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