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What type of disorder do I have?
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An_249902 posted:
I went to a Psychologist to find out what type of anxiety disorder I have. I spent a half hour telling him my symptoms and situations that cause the anxiety to flare up. I told him I realized I may have had this since my 20's, (I'm 60 now). Then I asked him what he thinks it is. So he says to me, "It's not important to know what it is, but what to do about it." Then I told him that one of the reasons I came was to find out what it was, and that it was important to me to understand what it was. Again he said, "It shouldn't be important to you to know what it is, but how do we treat it."
I looked at him for a pause, and then I responded, "You are totally discounting me and what I am telling you, and why are you telling me what should or shouldn't be important to me. I am neither a child or an idiot." He squirmed around in his chair and blabbered some other nonsense and then I interrupted him and said, "Look, it's your job to diagnose the problem, which you don't seem to want to, so I need to find someone that can do that." And I got up and left.

Here's the short version. When company comes over I get more and more anxious as hours pass by. My limit is about 3 or 4 hours, then I got to get out of the situation for relief. It's easier when my wife and I go to a party cause I have control over when I need to leave. Now about company coming to stay at our house, this is the big problem. I have always given in when my wife when she wants here folks to stay with us. Very nice and pleasant people, but I can't handle them in my space like that. I never knew why. I would slowly feel more and more out of control each day that would pass. I'd become withdrawn and want to just run. I'd feel trapped. I wouldn't want to talk to them and I would not be a happy camper while they were there. I would count down the days and hours till they left. Once they were gone, the anxiety would go away and I'd feel comfortable again in my home. It's not just her parents. Occasionally my sister would ask to come for a week, and I would agree, and then suffer the consequences the whole time she would be at our house. I tried to fight it. I used breathing techniques, positive thinking and meditation, but the anxiety / stress was too strong. This Christmas I made the mistake of letting my wife bring her parents to stay with us FOR 24 DAYS. It drove me insane. My hands at times would shake. That is when I realized there was something wrong with me. I told my wife I couldn't handle people in my space, not even her parents and she cried. That made it worse. I felt like I real ass. My psychiatrist wanted to prescribe a medication, but I told her that it was situational, that when people were out of my space, I was OK. I told her if I were to name it, I'd call it PIMSS...People in my space syndrome. And that's when she told me to go see this guy, and you know how that went. Any thoughts are appreciated?
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Patricia Farrell, PhD responded:
I can understand that what the psychologist did when you went to see him was not only upsetting, in my mind, it was not entirely professional. You are an adult, you came for help, and you had a right to some idea of the diagnosis that this psychologist was considering.

The question which must be posed here is how can he treat someone if he doesn't know what he's treating? I do believe it is an anxiety disorder and, as you, I do believe it is situational and confined to only specific situations in your life. I believe he could have told you that he thought it was an anxiety disorder and we do have a diagnosis that permits a period of consideration before a final diagnosis is made. Generally, this would be Anxiety Disorder, NOS meaning Anxiety Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified.

It is not the usual practice to provide a definitive diagnosis at a first meeting, but rather provide the patient with some idea about what is being considered. That would not have been out of order here.

The general way to approach your difficulty, I would think, would be twofold; cognitive behavioral therapy and, possibly, marital counseling. The latter part would be so that you and your wife would be able to work together on this particular difficulty and help each other. It is, after all, not just something with which you have to contend but which you and your wife must deal.

As to the psychiatrist, if it is needed, she or any MD can prescribe a medication that is generally used for performance anxiety. This is a medication that in normal medical practice would be used to control blood pressure and which has been found very useful for this type of anxiety. I am not an MD, but I do know that this is something which is widely used.

I hope that I have provided some useful information to you and that you and your wife can now embark on a program that will help the two of you.


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