Need help breaking free from addiction?
1-888-993-3112
Call 24/7 for treatment options. Ad Info & Options

Social Anxiety

Question:

I am currently a junior in college and am not happy. During my whole high school life and my current college life I have found it difficult to make friends and the friends I do make are people that I would not consider that close. I think this can be attributed to the fact that I feel an “inner tightness” or anxiety when I talk to most of my peers. I never feel comfortable around them. The only times I this is not the case is when I am either drunk or smoking pot. When I go to a party I always have a feeling of being “out of place”. For most people the socialization that occurs at these parties seems to occur naturally, this is not the case for me. It seems to always be a constant struggle to maintain a good conversation. Dr., I constantly feel alone, isolated and rejected. Do I need to see a professional? Dr., any help or advice you could give me would be a GREAT help! Thank you for your time.

This Disclaimer applies to the Answer Below
  • Dr. Dombeck responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
  • Dr. Dombeck intends his responses to provide general educational information to the readership of this website; answers should not be understood to be specific advice intended for any particular individual(s).
  • Questions submitted to this column are not guaranteed to receive responses.
  • No correspondence takes place.
  • No ongoing relationship of any sort (including but not limited to any form of professional relationship) is implied or offered by Dr. Dombeck to people submitting questions.
  • Dr. Dombeck, Mental Help Net and CenterSite, LLC make no warranties, express or implied, about the information presented in this column. Dr. Dombeck and Mental Help Net disclaim any and all merchantability or warranty of fitness for a particular purpose or liability in connection with the use or misuse of this service.
  • Always consult with your psychotherapist, physician, or psychiatrist first before changing any aspect of your treatment regimen. Do not stop your medication or change the dose of your medication without first consulting with your physician.
Answer:

It cannot be said for sure, but based on what you have said here it would appear that you are dealing with an anxiety problem – perhaps one known as Social Phobia. Persons with social phobia experience many symptoms of anxiety (including but not limited to embarrassment, sweating, trembling, etc.) when they are in social situations. Often, Social Phobics also experience a fear of negative evaluation – their attention becomes so highly focused on what others around them might be thinking about them that they find it hard to pay attention to the conversation they are having! If it is the case that you have social phobia, you are in luck! There are now several excellent forms of psychotherapy that are well studied and known to work very well in treating this disorder. I recommend that you have a medical checkup to rule out any possible medical reason for why you might be so anxious. Assuming the absence of medical difficulties that might account for your symptoms, I recommend that you treat yourself to a consultation with a licensed Clinical Psychologist trained in Cognitive Behavior Therapy for anxiety disorders. I have to address your use of alcohol and marijuana here – These substances are never helpful for people to put into their bodies. In your case – where you seem to be using these drugs to make yourself less anxious – you are running a terrible risk of addiction. Please stop drinking and drugging immediately. A psychiatrist can prescribe medication to lower your anxiety if this is absolutely necessary. If you go that route – be sure and ask your Dr. for a non-addictive anti-anxiety medicine so that you don’t substitute one addictive substance for another). Good luck! Dr. Dombeck

More "Ask Dr. Dombeck" View Columnists

Comments
  • kancer

    "Please stop drinking and drugging immediately. A psychiatrist can prescribe medication to lower your anxiety if this is absolutely necessary. If you go that route - be sure and ask your Dr. for a non-addictive anti-anxiety medicine so that you don't substitute one addictive substance for another)."

    Don't do an herbal drug, do a pharmaceutical, FDA approved one. Right... I imagine you (Dr. Dombeck) are referring to the dangers of addictive anti-anxiety drugs (Xanax, etc.) and instead implying that SSRI type drugs aren't addictive and therefore don't have withdrawal sypytoms. Also, enough semantics. Drugs are drugs. Don't call one medication and condemn the other with the connotations that revolve around the word 'drug'.

    I was put on Paxil when I was 16 and getting off it was the worst experience in my life. Much worse than any time I've smoked marijuana and then felt sleepy, and back to normal the next day. Paxil is worse than marijuana. I've seen a lot of lives destroyed (suicide of a friend and the problems I encountered) because of SSRI type drugs. Can't say the same of marijuana use alone. The dangers of SSRI type drugs for depression and anxiety are really underplayed by doctors, such as you, much to the detriment of patients out there. I'd like to think you mean well, but looking at these posts, I find you telling people to do things when you readily admit you don't know them and therefore can't accurately diagnose their problems. I actually had to agree to a waiver before reading your responses. If you don't see a problem inherent in what you're doing, then...yikes...that's sad. Classless Doc, totally classless.

Close

Call the Helpline Toll-FREE

To Get Treatment Options Now.

1-888-993-3112 100% Confidential

Get Help For You or a Loved One Here...

Click Here for More Info.

Close

Call The Toll-FREE Helpline 24/7 To Get Treatment Options Now.

100% Confidential
Get Treatment Options From Your Phone... Tap to Expand