Agoraphobia is a type of anxiety disorder that causes an intense fear of situations that may make you feel trapped and helpless. These situations are often associated with public places, being in an enclosed space, standing in line, or being in a crowd. Overcoming agoraphobia is possible, however, and you do not have to let it take over your life.
Examples of situations that people with agoraphobia tend to avoid are:
- Public transport (e.g. subways, buses, and planes)
- Open spaces such as parks and fields
- Closed spaces such as elevators or tunnels
- Being in a crowd or standing in a line
- Going out of the home alone
The symptoms of agoraphobia are not simply a preference to avoid certain situations. Avoidance is a result of intense fear that is difficult to overcome. Some of the symptoms caused by intense fear are:
- Rapid heart rate
- Trouble breathing
- Excessive sweating
- Feeling lightheaded and/or dizzy
- Fear of dying
- Upset stomach
You can read a full list of the sign and symptoms here.
If you are having trouble leaving home due to extreme fear, it is important to get an assessment and diagnosis. Once we determine you are struggling with symptoms of agoraphobia, we can begin a treatment plan.
Medication and psychotherapy are beneficial for overcoming agoraphobia. Psychotherapy is effective in treating agoraphobia and can be used in conjunction with medication or on its own.
In psychotherapy, you will learn what is happening in the body and how to cope with triggers and anxiety. Therapy will also teach you how to develop the skills you need to navigate both the external environment and your reactions and responses to the environment. These are skills you will take with you going forward, empowering you to take control of your life experience.
Reach out today
If you are experiencing symptoms of agoraphobia, it is important to receive treatment without delay, as symptoms can get worse and lead to more difficulties and increased isolation.
If your agoraphobia is so extreme that you don’t want to leave the house for therapy, online therapy is also an option.
Dr. Jennifer Lish is a psychologist practicing in Worcester, Massachusetts. If you would like to learn more you are welcome to call and book your first appointment, or fill out the contact form and click Send.Please share this post!