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Monday, September 1, 2014
Anxiety and Stress Disorders
Anxiety in social situations
Hello, I recently developed a problem with feeling like I am going to have a bout of diarrhea when I am in certain situations that I cannot control. This happens when I am in meetings at work or in the car driving with someone else driving. I am fine when I am by myself because I know that I have control of the situation. I am afraid that it is going to get so bad that I won`t put myself in these situations and it will start to control my life. I have no idea what has brought this on all of a sudden. I know there are medications for anxiety, but I think that they are taken on a daily basis. Is there any medication that I can take only when I know I have this type of situation coming up? I really don`t want to have to take something all the time.
Social anxiety is a well known and common anxiety disorder. It has be described as being "characterized by overwhelming anxiety and excessive self-consciousness in everyday social situations." While common physical symptoms include include blushing, profuse sweating, trembling, nausea, and difficulty talking, intestinal spasms that feel like diarrhea can also occur.
I encourage you to read more about social anxiety at the national Institutes of Mental Health web site:
There are several important steps for you right now. First, I recommend a check up with your primary care doctor. You want to make sure that all possible diagnoses are being considered. Then you will likely want to work with a mental health counselor and get some therapy for the anxiety. both medications and counseling are effective treatments, but both together are probably the most effective.
Nancy Elder, MD
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati