Agoraphobia: Symptoms, Treatment
Agoraphobia is a type of anxiety disorder which makes you feel embarrased, helpless, trapped. You fear an actual or anticipated situation, such as using public transportation, being in open or enclosed spaces, standing in line, or being in a crowd.
People with agoraphobia usually feel unsafe in public places especially where the crowds gather. The fear may get excessive that the person may not leave the house without a company.
Agoraphobia treatment is challanging just like other phobias. But thanks to psychotherapy it’s not impossible to cure.
Some of agoraphobia symptoms are:
- afraid of leaving their home for extended periods of time
- afraid of being alone in the social situation
- detached or estranged from others
- fear of losing control in a public place
- fear of being in places where it would be difficult to escape, such as a car or elevator
Agoraphobia often causes panic attacks. Panic attacks are a series of symptoms that sometimes occur in people with anxiety and other mental health disorders. Panic attacks can include a wide range of severe physical symptoms, such as:
- Shortness of breath or tightness in your throat
- Heart palpitations
- Chest pain or unexplained discomfort in the chest
- Feeling of unreality or detachment
- Numbness or tingling sensation
- Fear of loss of control or death
- Hot flashes
Agoraphobia can also lead to or be associated with:
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Other mental health disorders as well as other anxiety disorders or personality disorders
Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, involves meeting with a therapist or other mental health professional on a regular basis. This also gives you the opportunity to talk about your fears and any issues that may be contributing to your fears.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most common form of psychotherapy for treating people with agoraphobia. Because CBT can help you understand the distorted feelings and views associated with agoraphobia. It can also teach you how to work through stressful situations by replacing the distorted thoughts with healthy thoughts, allowing you to regain a sense of control in your life.
Agoraphobia and Exposure Therapy
Exposure therapy can also help you overcome your fears. In this type of therapy, you’re gently and slowly exposed to the situations or places you fear. This may make your fear diminish over time.