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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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How can I increase my concentration and tackle my extremely shy behavior ?

Hello, basically i would just like to get right to the point and tell you some of my issues and if you could tell me if it s normal or not that would be great! I feel as though I have been dealing with anxiety my whole life, now again i m not sure if that is a normal occurence in most people or not, anyway I tend to feel extremely awkward in a room with to many people my stress level goes way up, i have diffculty making eye contact with anyone at all. I’ve been quite shy my whole life but I have gotten a bit better with age also I have trouble expressing my feelings or even talking about myself and when I have in the past I feel embarrassed or ashamed.. I’ve never been very good in school, but yet i do have very strong good qualities that i excel in, i m not sure if it s some sort of concentration issue, but in school if i wasn t interested in something i would just drift off and day dream, or even trying to read a book is difficult for me because it has to be extremely quiet in a room and it helps if no one is in it at all or i get easily distracted..
Sat, 21 Jan 2012
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  User's Response

I appreciate your writing in this forum to try and get a better understanding of yourself.

Many of the symptoms you have enlisted are quite normal. Most of us have social anxiety to varying extents - some have less anxiety than you do, while some have more. So, when does it become an illness? For symptoms such as these which fall on a continuum, abnormality/illness is determined on the basis of how much trouble the symptoms are causing you. If your symptoms are significantly impacting your functioning in an important domain (e.g. social, interpersonal, work etc), then it can be considered a disorder and be treated.

From your description, you most likely do not have Social Anxiety Disorder; your symptoms represent a slightly more extreme variation of normal. In any case, even if it is not a disorder, an improvement in these features would be of benefit to you. Psychotherapy is the best solution in this case. You will certainly benefit from Cognitive Behaviour Therapy or Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy. However, psychotherapy requires hard work and commitment; you have to decide if an improvement in these symptoms would be worth putting in all the hard work.

Finally, let me reiterate - some amount of social anxiety is very common, so you are not alone. The fact that the anxiety has gotten better with age is reassuring.

Warm regards,
Dr. Saifuddin Kharawala
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