Agoraphobia is the fear of being in large or unknown public places. This type of phobia is accompanied by panic attacks and anxiety often resulting in an individual’s avoiding public situations that might make escape almost impossible. The most critical case of this condition can confine a person to his or her home, while less critical cases may cause a person to panic when he or she is in an area with few or no places to hide or feel shielded.
While agoraphobic psychology can seem utterly illogic, a person with agoraphobia has reasonable fears that often surface in therapy. A person who experiences intense panic or anxiety at the thought of public situations should consider speaking to a therapist.
Symptoms of agoraphobia
Patients with agoraphobia feel anxious when in an environment that they perceive as unsafe, but they also must cope with anxiety when imagining those situations. This is because agoraphobia includes a fear of embarrassing oneself during social interactions. The thought of having a panic attack that would draw attention is enough to make those with agoraphobia avoid any impetuous situations.
A person with agoraphobia would fear
- Being alone
- Being in crowded places, open spaces, or even small spaces.
- Losing control in a public place
- People staring at them
The major fear is of being in a situation where help or escape would be impossible if any sort of danger arises.
Other symptoms include Detachment from others, Helplessness, agitation, loss of control, and a feeling that an environment is not safe.
Some Physical symptoms can also occur, such as constant chest pain, dizziness, sweating, shivering, stomach pain, nausea, and diarrhea.
Treatment for agoraphobia
The following are some of the steps that can be taken:
- Learn more about your condition by educating yourself
- Make possible lifestyle changes, and come up with self-help techniques that can help relieve symptoms.
- If possible enroll yourself in a guided self-help programme.
- Get more intensive treatments which have been made available such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
Your Lifestyle changes may include regular exercise, avoiding alcohol, eating more healthily, avoiding hard drugs, and drinks containing caffeine, such as tea, coffee, and cola.
Some Self-help styles that can help during a panic attack may include staying where you are, focusing on something that is non-threatening and taking deep breaths. If all the above attempts to treat agoraphobia fail, your doctor may suggest that you contact a therapist and begin series of counseling programme.