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How can I overcome my nervousness?

Q: I am a 20 years old student suffering from depression and anxiety. I get very nervous in difficult situations. If I see people fighting, my heart starts beating harder and faster. I also feel pain in my abdomen and am unable to speak in a normal tone. Same thing happens if someone talks to me in a harsh voice. The doctor diagnosed this as post traumatic stress disorder and advised Stalopam. I took Stalopam for two and half months and stopped taking it fearing the side effects. How can my nervousness be overcome?

A:It sounds like you have been suffering a lot with your distressing symptoms. It also appears that they have been incapacitating you significantly and affecting your day to day functioning.

In fact, what you have describe seem to be panic attacks which seem to immobilise you because of the intense surge of anxiety. I would think that if Citalopram has helped you, you should follow the advice of the psychiatrist with regard to the length of time it needs to be continued.

You are most likely to benefit if in combination, you are able to engage in Psychological treatment particularly what is known as cognitive behaviour therapy. There is much evidence these days for its effectiveness. However, the challenge is to be able to learn the techniques and apply them consistently and in all possible situations to have the most benefit. A clinical psychologist should be able to assist you in understanding and applying these techniques specifically.

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