What Is Agoraphobia?
Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder that makes a person avoid places where he or she might feel embarrassed, panicked, or helpless. In stressful situations, or even before entering into such a situation, agoraphobic people experience rapid heartbeat and feel nausea. In some severe cases of agoraphobia, affected people can not even go to places like banks and grocery stores. There are various types of agoraphobia, such as:
- Paranoid agoraphobia
- Disorganized agoraphobia
- Catatonic agoraphobia
People suffering from agoraphobia refrain from:
- Leaving home for longer periods
- Going to places where they can be stuck like an elevator or a car
- Going alone in public places
Panic attacks occur frequently in agoraphobia. It is usually accompanied by various levels of anxiety and mental health issues. Some other agoraphobia symptoms are as follows:
- Pain in chest
- Rapid heartbeat
- Breath shortness
- Heavy sweating
- Feeling of choking
The feeling of not getting into uncomfortable situations increases when agoraphobic people have a panic attack while going to such places.
Who Is At Risk?
There are certain factors that make a person vulnerable to this condition. These agoraphobia risk factors are:
- The condition usually develops in late teen or early adulthood
- Women are vulnerable to agoraphobia than men
- Having bad experiences like physical abuse, sexual abuse, death of parents increase the risk
- Anxious or nervous temperament make a person prone to the condition
- Having a family history of agoraphobia is also a risk factor
Causes of agoraphobia are not known to scientists yet. However, there are certain reasons for agoraphobia. These include:
- Certain phobias like social phobia
- Other anxieties disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder or OCD
How Is Agoraphobia Diagnosed?
Agoraphobia diagnosis is done by analyzing the symptoms of a person. Your doctor might ask about the origin and frequency of your symptoms while diagnosing you. Medical history, family history of traumatic events in past can also be asked in detail by your doctor. Your doctor might also take blood tests to make sure that these symptoms are not caused by other problems like drug abuse. In order to confirm the presence of agoraphobia, you must feel anxious or tense in two or more of the following situations:
- Public transportation like a train or bus
- Open spaces like playground or parking lot
- Enclosed spaces like an elevator
- Crowded place
- Away from your home
Other symptoms must also happen like recurrent panic attacks to a person to confirm agoraphobia.
How Is Agoraphobia Treated?
Agoraphobia treatment can be done in a number of ways. Agoraphobia cure can need a combination of these treatment methods:
- Psychotherapy: It involves meeting with a therapist and talking about your fear and anxiety. Along with therapy, your doctor might also give medicine for agoraphobia.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): It the most common method used by doctors to cure mental health and behavioral issues. It helps you understand your own feelings and views associated with your condition. Your therapist might also teach you how to deal with anxiety and stressful conditions.
- Exposure therapy: In this type of therapy, you are gradually exposed to the condition you fear the most. Slowly, your anxiety around that condition diminishes.
- Medications: For optimum results, medications are given along with various therapies.
Lifestyle changes like exercising on a regular basis, eating healthy food, and practicing mediation also prove helpful. If you or someone you love is having the above-mentioned symptoms, you must go to the doctor for consultation. We, at carefit, have a team of experienced doctors who give online consultation at reasonable prices. To book an online appointment with a psychiatrist, go to carefit app or website.
How Can Agoraphobia be Prevented?
Agoraphobia cannot be prevented in any way. However, anxiety can be decreased by going to the places where you fear to go. When you fear mild anxiety about going to places like a crowded bus or elevator, try to go to these places regularly. If you feel that this is too hard for you, request a friend or family member to accompany you. If this does not help and the anxiety keeps increasing over time, go to a doctor to seek consultation.
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