What Can You Do About Your Agoraphobia?

An individual who avoids situations that could cause him or her to experience intense fear may fit the diagnostic criteria for agoraphobia. This person is afraid of being trapped in a situation where he or she will feel helpless or embarrassed for having panicked.

Some people with agoraphobia rarely or never leave their homes, or they will only venture out when with a trusted friend or family member.

Agoraphobia is usually linked to a co-occurring panic disorder. When people make a connection between certain situations or events and the possibility of having a panic attack, they may avoid those situations and events. However, there are cases of agoraphobia without an accompanying panic diagnosis.

Not everyone with agoraphobia is completely home-bound. Some agoraphobics venture out to certain stores or coffee shops that feel safe to them. They may feel comfortable driving a few miles from home, but no farther. The time of day can also be a factor in whether they will leave home, or how far they feel safe going.

Risk Factors

Not surprisingly, people who have a tendency to be nervous are at higher risk for agoraphobia. Other risk factors are having a substance abuse problem or a history of physical or sexual abuse. Women are diagnosed more often than men.

Symptoms of Agoraphobia

  • Fear of being in crowded areas, of being alone, of being out of control in public places, of places
  • that might be hard to leave (such as an elevator)
  • Being housebound for long periods
  • Over-dependence on other people
  • Feelings of helplessness or that one's body are not real

Treatments for Agoraphobia

  • SSRI antidepressant medications, such as Paxil, Prozac, or Sarafem, or other types of antidepressants
  • Benzodiazepines to reduce anxiety, such as Xanax or Klonopin
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) helps people become aware of what triggers their panic symptoms and how to cope with those symptoms. CBT may also include desensitization outings, where the therapist accompanies the client to places or events that are usually avoided. This allows clients to diminish their fears by facing them while having support.
  • Some people report anxiety relief by taking calming OTC herbal or dietary supplements, such as kava or ashwagandha. However, even supplements present safety concerns and should only be used after consulting with your doctor.

If you have agoraphobia and are home-bound, there is still help available. You will be able to find therapists who will start treatment in your home or talk to you by email, chat, phone, or Skype. You can also ask a friend to go with you on your first few visits to a therapy office.

Meanwhile, take care of yourself by finding support websites or support groups near your home. Learn and practice relaxation techniques, such as breathing exercises, qi gong, or yoga. Attempt going to places that are uncomfortable for you instead of avoiding them. Start by taking short trips to nearby stores or friend’s homes. The more often you do this, the less anxious you will feel.

Source: Mayo Clinic
Photo: Max Pixel

Anxiety Support Groups

Latest Post by JustJules Wed, 10/16/2019 - 1:01pm
Comments: 0
Latest Post by MillieM Wed, 10/16/2019 - 11:13am
Comments: 0
Latest Post by MillieM Wed, 10/16/2019 - 11:17am
Comments: 3
Latest Post by MillieM Wed, 10/16/2019 - 11:31am
Comments: 2

More Articles

If you're feeling overwhelmed by constant anxiety, or even just bothered by occasional bouts of stress, there are some lifestyle and health habits...

Cortisol supplements are most often prescribed as a way to treat low adrenal gland function. Cortisol is sometimes referred to as the "stress...

Women might have a leg up on men when it comes to interviewing for a job, say researchers at the University of Western Toronto. The data from a...

The adrenal glands, located above the kidneys, produce a variety of essential hormones. When these glands don't produce enough of one or more of...

Panic is real, and panic disorder is considered to be an illness. A panic attack is very painful and feelings of depression and helplessness may...

More Articles

Email, convenient though it may be, can lead to chronically high levels of stress and anxiety if checked too often. Fortunately, new research...

Uncontrollable shaking can happen when your arms, hands, legs and even your entire body may feel shaky or like they are trembling.

Some...

The antidepressant doxepin (originally marketed by Pfizer under the brand name Sinequan) is a tricyclic antidepressant approved to treat anxiety...

How should Wellbutrin be used?

Wellbutrin is an oral antidepressant medication. Wellbutrin is used to treat the major depressive disorder...

One thing to remember before a first date is that the overall quality of your life does not hinge on its success. If the date goes belly-up, you...

Serotonin is the neurotransmitter most linked to mood disorders like depression, but scientific evidence showing the role it plays is surprisingly...

Everyone suffers symptoms of anxiety now and then, and for many people anxiety is a chronic problem. But not all who suffer from anxiety...

We know it is necessary to breathe but do not always appreciate how important it is to breathe well.

In all types of meditation, energy...

Agoraphobia is a disorder that develops when a person begins to avoid situations associated with anxiety. It arises from an anxiety condition that...

There are two main strategies used to overcome social anxiety disorder (sometimes called “social phobia”). The first is medication and the second...

Part of going to school is taking tests, and you may be one of many students that experience intense test anxiety. This performance anxiety comes...

Benzodiazepines are a generally well-tolerated class of psychoactive drugs commonly used to treat anxiety disorders. While they are considered to...

The monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) tranylcypromine (brand name: Parnate) is an antidepressant sometimes used for the treatment of anxiety...

While medication can be helpful for many people with anxiety disorders, it is not always the best option for everyone. Some people may find that...

Our bodies cannot function without the mineral magnesium, and that includes the proper working of neurons and neurotransmitters in the brain....