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10 Tips for Dealing With Agoraphobia in Daily Life

November 23, 2022

6 min read

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Author : United We Care
10 Tips for Dealing With Agoraphobia in Daily Life

Introduction

Agoraphobia is a rare mental health condition that causes a person to have an intense, unreasonable fear of being in a challenging or embarrassing place or situation. People can overcome agoraphobia with the help of medication, cognitive behavioural therapy, and lifestyle modifications. The sooner a doctor diagnoses the condition, the more effective its treatment would be.

What is agoraphobia?

Agoraphobia is a rare mental disorder, and people who suffer from this syndrome are afraid of people and locations. They frequently avoid places or situations that might make them feel confined, powerless, or ashamed. People suffering from this condition may be reluctant to leave their homes.

There is a common misconception that agoraphobia is a phobia of leaving one’s house, but it is more complicated. Anxiety, a defining feature of the condition, makes people avoid circumstances where they could feel scared, confined, powerless, or ashamed. Agoraphobia can exist alone or in conjunction with another mental illness, such as panic disorder.

Symptoms of agoraphobia

Here are some common symptoms of agoraphobia:

  • Apprehension about leaving the house.
  • Being terrified of shopping centres, bridges, or open places.
  • Fear of becoming confined in areas or buildings with less space.
  • Fear of leaving the house or of being alone in public.
  • Fear of becoming violent in public.
  • Fear of situations where an escape would be challenging.
  • Aversion to using public transport such as buses and trains.

Women are more likely to experience agoraphobia than men. The condition typically starts in adolescence, with an average onset at age 20. However, signs of the condition might appear at any age.

Causes of agoraphobia

While the exact cause of agoraphobia is unknown, the chances of developing agoraphobia are higher in the circumstances like:

Psychological Factors

Psychological factors may include a traumatic childhood experience, like a death in the family or sexual assault, accident, parent’s divorce, or a history of mental diseases including depression, mania, anorexia nervosa, anxiety, or bulimia.

Biological Factors

Biological factors can include a history of mental illness such as depression, panic disorder, personality disorder, anxiety in the family, or someone who already has or has agoraphobia.

Environmental Factors

Environmental factors can also be responsible such as experiencing a crime like a robbery, theft, murder, abuse, bullying or witnessing a traumatic occurrence. Substance abuse or alcohol consumption can also cause problems like agoraphobia.

Ten tips for dealing with agoraphobia in daily life

Here are ten tips that can be useful in dealing with agoraphobia in everyday life:

Seek professional help

Agoraphobia is curable. All you need to do is seek professional help. Mental health professionals can examine your symptoms, make a diagnosis, and prescribe a treatment strategy. At United We Care, an online mental health platform, a person can seek support in dealing with agoraphobia safely, securely, and conveniently from the comfort of their home.

Adhere to the treatment schedule

Take the prescribed medications on time and on schedule. Turn up for your therapy sessions and follow up with your therapist regularly. Consistency in these areas can make a significant impact on your recovery.

Learn relaxation techniques

Relaxation exercises like yoga may assist in reducing anxiety levels. These methods can help to reduce physical and mental anxiety by relieving tension throughout the body. Start using these techniques now to control panic episodes, lessen worrying thoughts, and become relaxed.

Stay calm using skills

You can learn how to relax and comfort yourself by working with your therapist. Simple relaxation techniques like visualization, yoga, massage, and meditation can also be beneficial. Put these strategies into practice while you’re relaxed so you can easily use them when things get complicated.

Avoid distressing situations

Visiting locations or engaging in activities that make you feel uneasy or exacerbate your anxiety symptoms might be challenging. However, by repeatedly travelling to new areas, it is possible to make the experience less frightful and anxiety-inducing. You can work on this with the aid of family, friends, and your therapist.

Reduce stress

Numerous physical and mental health issues, including anxiety, and extreme stress, can exacerbate agoraphobia. Learn some stress management strategies to lessen the symptoms of your panic attacks.

Avoid drugs, alcohol, and caffeine

Substance abuse can increase the symptoms of agoraphobia. In addition, avoid or minimize caffeine intake, as it can worsen your anxiety.

Change your lifestyle

Limiting and avoiding coffee, alcohol, and some medicines can be helpful. Regular exercise can lower anxiety levels and burn off stress-related hormones. Consult your therapist for practices and techniques to help you stay calm in stressful situations.

Learn desensitization

Desensitization is a common coping mechanism, which you can learn on your own or with the help of a therapist. The ‘imaginal desensitization’ uses imagination to deal with anxiety and panic attacks.

Join a support group

You can connect with others going through similar struggles at support groups for those with anxiety disorders. Venting your feelings and emotions and hearing about other people experiencing the same problems as you can help you cope better with agoraphobia and maybe even recover completely.

Treatment of agoraphobia

Treatment for agoraphobia often combines counselling, medication, and lifestyle modifications.

Treatment of agoraphobia

Psychotherapy

This therapy will involve setting objectives and learning valuable methods to control your anxiety. One of the most successful types of psychotherapy for agoraphobia is cognitive behavioural therapy, which focuses on giving you the skills to handle stress better and eventually resume activities you couldn’t perform due to agoraphobia.

Agoraphobia is frequently treated with anti-depressants and, in some instances, anti-anxiety medications. Anti-depressants tend to outperform anti-anxiety drugs in the management of agoraphobia.

A class of anti-depressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors helps to treat panic disorder presenting with agoraphobia. Fluoxetine (Prozac) and sertraline (Zoloft) are such inhibitors.

Regarding anti-anxiety medication, your doctor or therapist may prescribe benzodiazepines, which can temporarily alleviate anxiety symptoms. However, you must be careful with your intake of benzodiazepines as they work by depressing the central nervous system; an overdose could be fatal.

Conclusion

The anxiety in social situations that comes with agoraphobia might make it difficult for you to visit a doctor or therapist. But don’t let that stop you. Call a doctor or a mental health professional if you feel you or a loved one needs help with anxiety; you can also ask a close relative or friend to accompany you to a healthcare professional.

Alternatively, you can reach out to us at United We Care, online mental health wellness and therapy platform that offers equal and inclusive access to support. We provide professional guidance to combat your mental and emotional challenges safely, securely, and conveniently from the comfort of your home. Connect with us today!

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Author : United We Care

Founded in 2020, United We Care (UWC) is providing mental health and wellness services at a global level, UWC utilizes its team of dedicated and focused professionals with expertise in mental healthcare, to solve 2 essential missing components in the market, sustained user engagement and program efficacy/outcomes.

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