Agoraphobia can be devilitating but there are many treatments available!
We define agoraphobia as a form ofAnxiety disorder. There is some controversy regarding the word “Agoraphobia”. In the literal sense of the word, agoraphobia means a fear of “open spaces” This does not provide a complete and appropriate understanding of the term. Agoraphobia refers to a relentless anxiety condition arising out of illogical and disabling fears. Open spaces don’t necessarily cause fear in people affected with agoraphobia. But such people are somewhat haunted by fear getting panic attacks and the affected persons may suffer panic attacks either in public places like temples, crowded market areas or at home. So to be more precise, Agoraphobia is marked by extreme fear arising out of circumstances wherein an escape seems impossible or where there is no availability of any help in case of a panic attack.
A group of certain feared activities may result in Agoraphobia. An individual affected with agoraphobia may find it extremely difficult to drive a vehicle, or to travel in a vehicle; to stand on a bridge, in a queue, in a crowd and to be away from home. These persons are always troubled by an unknown fear of an impending danger and often get panic attacks.
Causes of agoraphobia
Medical professionals ascribe many factors that cause agoraphobia. If a people are exposed to anxiety aggravating events that recur again, they may develop agoraphobia. Such events cause an intense fear often leaving an indelible impression on that individual’s mind. The main cause of agoraphobia is the fear of having panic attacks. These panic attacks make the affected individual to live in the constant fear of having another attack. The sufferers feel unnerved by the fear of what may happen to them if they get a panic attack in such public places like markets, hotels, temples or while traveling in a car, bus or any other vehicle.
Another important cause of agoraphobia is the obsessed memory of the situation and experience of the once suffered panic attack. Again this causes fear and anxiety finally leading to another attack. Naturally such persons confine themselves to home and avoid visiting public places.
Symptoms of Agoraphobia
Medical practitioners classify the symptoms of agoraphobia into three categories and they are; Physical, Psychological and behavioral symptoms.
Physical symptoms of agoraphobia are very rare because the affected people avoid situations that make them intensely anxious. However the agoraphobics may experience certain physical disorders. Such people often feel hot and sweaty followed by irregular heartbeats. Giddiness, shivering, diarrhea, nausea and chest pain are the common symptoms.
Psychological symptoms of agoraphobia are expressive of the patient’s fears. The affected people are in constant fear being put in an embarrassing condition. The terrifying panic attack may cause breathlessness. These people find themselves in situations from which there is no way out. Such people may lose their mental balance. They shiver and blush in front of people.
The people affected with agoraphobia exhibit symptoms related to behavior. They try to be in their comfort zone, confining themselves to home for long periods. They keep themselves away from doing any physical activity as they are afraid of any possible panic attack. Such persons withstand a situation only with great fear and anxiety. They also avoid driving vehicles.
Agoraphobia can be treated effectively with trusted medications and with definite kinds of psychotherapy