Our expert says:
There's probably many of us who don't enjoy being surounded by a crowd ( though some folks seem to thrive on it !) ; but the extent of your reaction, with severe anxiety and rapid breathing and pulse rate, does suggest a Phobic Anxiety. And your friend is right, that all the Anxiety Disorders, i ncluding Phobias, can be VERY effectively treated. Prychological treatments like CBT (Cognitive-behavior Therapy ) can be highly effective, and medications to reduce the degree of the anxiety can also help a lot --- I prefer to see these two approaches combined.
See a good local shrink for assessment, to confirm the diagnosis, and to discuss treatment options.
While Mona is right that the symptoms you describe are similar to those of a Panic Attack ( another variety of Anxiety Disorder ), Panic attacks tend to occur at random, rather than predictably in one very specific sort of situation, like a phobia. Anywahy, the treatment would be very similar. ( And nice to hear how well you have dealt with your Panic Attacks, Mona !)
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