Agoraphobia is an abnormal and persistent fear of public places or open areas, especially those from which escape could be difficult or in which help might not be immediately accessible.
Basically – you’re exposed and things are very uncertain.
Persons with agoraphobia frequently also have panic disorder. People with mild agoraphobia often live normal lives by avoiding anxiety-provoking situations, often to their significant cost by passing up opportunities.
In the most severe agoraphobia, people who experience this may be incapacitated and home-bound.
Agoraphobia tends to start in the mid-to-late 20s, and the onset may appear to be triggered by a traumatic event.
We offer Instant CBT sessions for Agoraphobia.
Symptoms of Agoraphobia
Agoraphobia is considered to be present when places or situations are being avoided. People with agoraphobia generally do not feel safe in public places. Their fear is worse when the place is crowded. Symptoms of agoraphobia include:
- Becoming house-bound for prolonged periods of time
- Dependence on others
- Fear of being alone
- Fear of being in places where escape might be difficult
- Fear of losing control in a public place
- Feelings of detachment or estrangement from others
- Feelings of helplessness
- Feeling that the body is unreal
- Feeling that the environment is unreal
- Unusual temper or agitation
How can CBT Help?
CBT involves 10 to 20 sessions with a mental health professional over a number of weeks. CBT helps you change the thoughts that cause your condition.
It may involve:
- Gaining understanding and control of distorted feelings or views of stressful events or situations
- Learning to recognize and replace panic-causing thoughts
- Learning stress management and relaxation techniques
- Systematic desensitization and exposure therapy, in which you are asked to relax, then imagine the things that cause the anxiety, working from the least fearful to the most fearful.
Gradually exposing the patient to the real-life situation that causes the fear has also helped some people overcome their fears.