Psychiatry & Psychology--General/anxiety

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Question
Dear Alan, i am a 51 year old english woman who as long as I can remember has a phobia of people especially strangers that stare at me, i become agitated and sometimes annoyed and feel like i want to shout at them at times, I dont do this however. My friends and family say that I am an attractive woman and that I have a charisma, i am fundementally a shy person but am also friendly and caring and love my friends and family, this issue really bothers me some days and i get depressed at times, is there a specific reason as to why i have always felt so inferior to people looking at me.

Answer
What you feel is so common that it might be actually considered normal. The problem is twofold, the strength of this feeling, and how you react. And what appears as a phobia might be merely a sensitivity.

It should not be hard to fix, Julie, in fact, believing the above should take you part way. For more, I'd suggest talking a few times with a clinical psychologist who does cognitive behaviour therapy. I think you'll find the talks' focus on how you interpret and cope interesting and useful.

If you think I can offer anything further, feel free to send a follow-up. Meanwhile, thanks for asking us, and the best of luck with this.

Alan

Psychiatry & Psychology--General

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Alan Auerbach

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Taught psychology for 30 years, authored four textbooks. Specialize in introductory and industrial/organizational psychology, but will tackle wider range of areas.

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