Agoraphobia: Symptoms, Causes, Complication, Treatment And Prevention
Agoraphobia is a type of anxiety disorder in which you avoid situations that you’re afraid might cause you to panic. You might avoid being alone, leaving your home or any situation where you could feel trapped, embarrassed or helpless if you do panic.
People with agoraphobia often have a hard time feeling safe in any public place, especially where crowds gather. The fears can be so overwhelming that you may be essentially trapped in your own home.
Agoraphobia treatment can be tough because it usually means confronting your fears. But with medications and psychotherapy, you can escape the trap of agoraphobia and live a more enjoyable life.
goraphobia is a type of phobia. A phobia is the excessive fear of a specific object, circumstance or situation. Agoraphobia is excessive worry about having a panic attack in a public place. Commonly feared places and situations are elevators, sporting events, bridges, public transportation, shopping malls, airplanes, crowds or lines of people.
Typical agoraphobia symptoms include:
Fear of being alone in any situation
Fear of being in crowded places
Fear of losing control in a public place
Fear of being in places where it may be hard to leave, such as an elevator or train
Inability to leave your house for long periods (housebound)
Sense of helplessness
Overdependence on others
A sense that your body is unreal
In addition, you may also have signs and symptoms similar to a panic attack, including:
Rapid heart rate
Upset stomach or diarrhea
Feeling a loss of control
Agoraphobia is usually a complication of panic disorder. Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder in which you experience attacks of intense fear (panic attacks) that for no apparent reason trigger intense physical symptoms. Panic attacks can be very frightening. When panic attacks occur, you might think you’re losing control, having a heart attack or even dying
Agoraphobia can greatly limit your life’s activities. In severe cases, you may not even be able to leave your house. Without treatment, some people become housebound for years. You may not be able to visit with family and friends, go to school or work, walk your dog, run errands or take part in other normal daily activities. You may become dependent on others for help, such as grocery shopping.
Agoraphobia can also lead to depression and anxiety. And people with agoraphobia may turn to alcohol or substance abuse to help cope with the fear, guilt, hopelessness, isolation and loneliness.
Agoraphobia treatment usually includes both medication and psychotherapy. It may take some time, but treatments can help you get better.
There’s no sure way to prevent agoraphobia. However, anxiety tends to increase the more you avoid situations that you fear. If you start to have mild fears about going places that are safe, try to practice going to those places before your fear becomes overwhelming. If this is too hard to do on your own, ask a family member or friend to go with you or seek professional help.
Also, if you’ve experienced panic attacks or have panic disorder, get treatment as soon as possible. Because panic disorder and agoraphobia are closely related, getting treatment for panic disorder may prevent the development of agoraphobia.
In addition, if you take medication or are already in therapy or counseling for panic disorder, continue to follow your treatment plan. If you develop any symptoms of agoraphobia, get treatment as soon as possible, which will help prevent symptoms from getting worse over time.