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How to deal with fear and anxiety?

Q: I am a 40 year old male who suffers from fear and anxiety. I feel very nervous to visit places or lead a normal social life. The symptoms include flushing and sweating even in airconditioned places. This had made me feel very depressed and hopeless. This has made me avoid practically all places. I have no friends and try to avoid contact with all people. This problem started when I was 20 years old and I have not led a normal life since then. I live with my widowed mother. I have not had friends since my problems started some 20 odd years ago and have never had a girl friend or love life. I am unable to do any job because of my acute anxiety and fear of being around people for fear of their comments seeing me so flushed and anxious around them. Luckily my father left me an inheritance which allows my mother and me to live fairly comfortably. I have visited psychiatrists and psychologists in the past and have taken various drugs and psychotherapy. Although there was improvement over the twenty years I have never been completely cured and keep returning to my former state. Now as the years are passing me by I am feeling more and more hopeless and depressed. I have also read quite a lot of motivational books on positive thinking but have not been able to get out of my predicament. Please help.

A:It seems that you have a long standing problem which has been temporarily helped by medicines and other treatment, but not for stable periods. This may very well be because of lack of consistency in treatemnt on your part. It is quite common for persons with psychological/psychiatric problems that they do not continue treatment satisfactorily. Often, this is so because it is felt that once the symptoms have been better, one does not have to continue medicines. Many of the psychiatric problems, require long term medication and continued treatment supervision. I believe that if you can consult a competent psychiatrist and continue treatment for a long period of time, the benefit that you derive for short periods can be extended to longer time. It must be difficult to adjust well to social and other situations with such a long standing problem and not having many friends. I do think that once the symptoms are better controlled for a good length of time, you will be able to get to a better level of functioning.

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