Agoraphobia, the fear of open or public places, is a condition that usually accompanies a panic or anxiety disorder. People who have agoraphobia often have difficulty driving and going out in public. In the worst cases, a person with agoraphobia may be unable to leave their house at all, not even to sit on their front porch. Some are even trapped in a single room.
If you have panic attacks when you leave your home or are in unfamiliar places, you may have agoraphobia. This is especially true if those attacks cause you to leave where you're at or alter the way you live your life. While agoraphobia is difficult to live with, it is treatable. If you think you may have it, following are a few ways you can take back your life.
A pill will not make agoraphobia go away, but certain medications can make it easier for you to deal with the symptoms. In fact, many find that without medicine, the battle over agoraphobia is just too hard. It usually takes a combination approach to treat the condition. Common medications used to treat the condition are antidepressants, such as SSRIs, used with or without anti-anxiety medications.
Counseling or behavioral therapy is the second prong of the combination approach used to treat agoraphobia. During sessions, you will learn how to deal with your symptoms and overcome them in the moment. Counseling can make it possible for you to remain in an uncomfortable situation for a longer period of time or until your symptoms pass. If you can't leave your house at all, you can still receive counseling. The counselor may come to your house or counsel you remotely, using a face-talking app on your phone.
The only way to overcome agoraphobia is to go through it. Exposure therapy, the act of going to anxiety-inducing locations and waiting for symptoms to pass, is the only way you can learn to enjoy going to uncomfortable and unfamiliar places. It only takes about 10 minutes for a panic attack to get as bad as it's ever going to be. After that, the symptoms usually subside and go away after 20 minutes or so. If you can use medication and counseling to help you get through those minutes, you will find that you can bear being in uncomfortable places and that you may even begin to enjoy it.
Agoraphobia is a debilitating condition, but it doesn't have to be. Through a combination of medication and counseling along with exposure therapy, you can overcome it. For more information, contact Living Hope Clinic or a similar location.