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Depressed and lonely. Fear of Earthquakes and late marriage troubles peace. Advise?

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Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 1835 Questions
Hello Doctor,

I have a phobia of earthquakes since last 5-6 years and because of this all the time I am scared. I live on 6th floor. I feel scared to sleep at night..I am constantly feeling scared. Everytime I am thinking about earthquakes. I am single and 26. Already late for getting married. Good proposals come but nothing has been materialised. I feel depressed and lonely. Please help..
Posted Fri, 4 May 2012 in Depression
Answered by Dr. Ashish Mittal 4 hours later
Thanks for your query.

I appreciate your efforts for medical consultation in so much distress.

Important aspects of your query are:
•     26 year old female
•     Known case of phobia
•     Concern related to constantly feeling of fear, sleep difficulty and depression

Phobia is a type of anxiety disorder and it is frequently associated with generalised anxiety disorder. If these disorders are not treated early they can lead to depression because of distress and dysfunction.
Common symptoms of anxiety disorders: anxiety, nervousness, restlessness, mild irritability, excessive worry regarding own wellbeing, tremor, muscle spasm, heaviness in body, easy fatigability, palpitation, sleep difficulty and dry mouth. Many of your complaints may match with this.

Anxiety is associated with excessive worry related health, family and survival. In your case you are having excessive worry related to earthquake which can endanger your life. Type of fear differ patient to patient and depend on childhood development & knowledge. If anxiety is severe, then fear does not removed only by reassurance and treatment from specialist become necessary.

Same time you may need treatment with psychiatrist to treat your anxiety and fear. It is not clear if you received any treatment in past. As you are having multiple symptoms then combined treatment in form cognitive behaviour therapy and drug therapy will be best in your case.

In drug treatment two types of medicine used. For immediate relief of anxiety benzodiazepines group of medicines are used and for long term relief most commonly SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are used. SSRI takes around 3-4 weeks to show its effect and cognitive behaviour therapy also takes weeks to show its effect.

I hope this information has been both informative and helpful for you. In case of any doubt, I will be available for follow ups.

Wish you good health.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Depressed and lonely. Fear of Earthquakes and late marriage troubles peace. Advise? 47 hours later
I wish to know that is such a phobia normal? I have not taken any treatment or medication so far.. Neither do I wish to get involved in such medications. I have myths around dogs barking/crying when an earthquake is approaching. Is it true?

Are there any other ways to feel better? I feel scared about my future..
Answered by Dr. Ashish Mittal 11 hours later
Hello again,

Having fear of earthquakes is normal but having excessive fear which is affecting your quality of life is not normal. It points for presence of phobic and anxiety disorder.

Dog barking is not a sign of earthquake. So, do not pay much attention to such things as it will add to your anxiety.

Medicines are easiest, effective and comfortably available treatment. If you are not comfortable with medicines, then you can go for cognitive behavior therapy by trained psychotherapist.

Hope, this answers your query. Please accept my answer in case you have no further queries.

Wish you good health.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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