My daughter is suffering from what is easily seen as a social phobia. She wants to stay at home, where she feels safe. She has left dance school, doesn’t want to see her friends anymore. When the phone rings she feels worried, would like that we do not answer. The same if somebody rings the doorbell.

Sometimes she says “don’t answer!” or “don’t open!”. A psychiatrist has given her Zyprexa (2 times a day 2.5mg). I don’t understand why she takes a drug for psychosis not showing any of the symptoms. Can Zyprexa be harmful for her?

A: It would be beyond the scope of this column to render medical opinion or advice. Here is the official site for Zyprexa; you can draw your own conclusions and discuss it with the psychiatrist. But there are two things that I think may help your daughter. As you did not mention her age I am responding with the basics.

First, if she is only receiving medicine she isn’t getting the full benefit of what can be offered. If the psychiatrist is offering medicine but no therapy (which is very common) you will want to ask him or her to refer you to someone for therapy. The best approach in treatment of most psychological maladies is a combination of medicine and psychotherapy. It sounds like your daughter might only be getting one of these.

Secondly, and this is a strong bias of mine, this particular condition is best served through treatment in group therapy. A group of people of similar age and disposition with a well-trained therapist would be directly targeting the issue. Medicine and group therapy would be my recommendation.

Thank you for writing us with your concerns.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan