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

Submitted by bali bae on Fri, 08/16/2019 - 10:00am
Comments: 2    Views: 34
Submitted by Pixie on Fri, 08/16/2019 - 8:05am
Comments: 0    Views: 30
Submitted by MillieM on Thu, 08/15/2019 - 4:31pm
Comments: 1    Views: 38
Submitted by JustJules on Thu, 08/15/2019 - 11:42am
Comments: 3    Views: 48

More Articles

Advil is one of several marketing brand names for the widely used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) commonly known as ibuprofen.

...

Stress and anxiety are largely a result of mental or emotional distress, causing feelings such as apprehension, fear, frustration, and anger....

Anxiety dizziness is an uncomfortable inner feeling of confusion. The word is used to describe so many different sensations, your health care...

Norpramin is a brand name for the pharmaceutical desipramine, a tricyclic antidepressant which operates by inhibiting the reuptake of...

No one is a complete stranger to anxiety. We all have times when we feel worried or fearful--sometimes extremely so. Feeling anxious now and then...

More Articles

An article from Prevention provides a list of 6 strange physical symptoms of stress that you may not even associate with too much stress in your...

The antidepressant Effexor, a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI), was first introduced in 1993 and is approved for the treatment...

Ativan (available generically as lorazepam) is a powerful anti-anxiety drug in the class of medications known as benzodiazepines. It is a fast-...

For sufferers of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), prolonged exposure (PE) therapy is a proven, effective treatment. Sometimes referred to as...

One way to help ourselves manage discomfort, whether chronic pain or anxiety, is to think about it in specific terms.

Words such as pain...

If you suffer from an anxiety disorder, you may occasionally experience an anxiety attack.

An anxiety attack is described as a sudden...

Inderal, a beta-blocker commonly prescribed to control physical symptoms of anxiety, is generally considered to be a safe drug and is tolerated...

Sometimes it seems that life would be easier without emotions. It’s true, we would not have to feel bad if they disappeared, but neither would we...

By now, everyone knows that exercise improves health on many levels--including mental health as well as physical health. There have been a number...

If you have math anxiety, your issues with solving number problems may have nothing to do with your math capability or disdain of numbers.

...

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

Some...

Withania somnifera, known commonly as ashwagandha, sounds like a good name for an avatar in a fantasy game, but it is already the name of an herb...

While life’s stresses surely contribute to anxiety, people suffering from severe anxiety symptoms often find that they are struggling against...

Social anxiety disorder (SAD) can be a crippling condition that keeps you from living your life, but sometimes the prescription anxiety...

Anafranil is the brand name of the tricyclic antidepressant clomipramine. It is approved by the FDA to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder and is...