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DEAR ABBY: I am 20 and used to be an outgoing, smart and attractive female. I planned to attend college, but I put it off because of a tight money situation at home.

After I turned 18, I began to have what I think are panic attacks. I don't sleep well and wake up during the night sweating and shaking. I'm nervous around people, short-tempered, can't make decisions, and I'm paranoid.

A few months ago, I told my mother that I think I need to see a doctor. She acted concerned, but never mentioned it again. I am getting worse every day. Some days I wish I would die. I know this isn't normal. What can I do? Whom do I see? -- BARELY HERE IN INDIANA

DEAR BARELY HERE: Your mother may have assumed that since you didn't mention it again that you were feeling better. It's time to pick up a phone and schedule a consultation with your doctor. You need a thorough physical examination and a psychological assessment. Please don't wait.

If you are not employed or do not have health insurance, you may qualify for Medicaid. Contact your state or county medical assistance office to see if you meet the eligibility requirements.

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