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How can I overcome my fear for social gatherings?

Q: I have depression, for which I have been taking Alprazolam and Clonazepam everyday for the past many years. I was given Clonazepam to stop Alprazolam. Alprazolam was slowly tapered to 0.5 mg from 1.5 mg. But I am still very depressed. I have now developed a fear of meeting people and social gatherings. How to avoid this?

A:I think the brief symptoms that you have presented seem to be more likely relating to social anxiety. Social anxiety can be secondary to a depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, or can be a disorder in itself. It responds best to a specific group of drugs called antidepressants, in which a particular subgroup is considered more efficacious than others. It can also respond, along with medication, to specific forms of psychotherapy. I would recommend that you discuss with your psychiatrist regarding further exploration, evaluation, such that the most appropriate medication can be offered to you and appropriate psychological help can be taken from a psychologist.

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