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Question
Posted by: Hetta | 2004/11/23

People phobia

I realised that I am “people closephobic” if I can call it that. I am not scared to be in a confined space, but when I am in a busy mall and am surrounded by people I get paranoid and I even once fainted. My heart will beat faster and I breathe harder and faster. A friend of mine said she think it is a sort of touch illness. Can you help me with what kind of disorder this is as well as how I can overcome this? Thanks

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

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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Our users say:
Posted by: Mona | 2004/11/23

Hi there, its called a panic attack, the more you worry, the more you breathe, you get light headed, you panic, you breathe more as it feels like you aren't getting the air down, you hyperventilate, you pass out. The panic keeps feeding on panic. I use to get these attacks when driving, scary stuff, cos of the consequences if passing out! I went on tranqulizers for 6 months, which you can get from your GP, and it was all sorted out!! Really worth going to see your doc!

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