What is agoraphobia?
Agoraphobia is an overwhelming anxious and panicky emotion, brought on by the feeling of (or thoughts about being) trapped or unsafe in environments where they have little control, or where it may be difficult to quickly escape. Common manifestations of this are; shopping centers, airports, and large open spaces, as well as, cinemas and even car parks (if they can’t find their car quickly). It is often common for the agoraphobic person to also experience claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces) too, once again this is about being out of control and not being able to exit quickly.
If left untreated for long periods, without agoraphobia treatment, this form of anxiety disorder quickly leads to the person feeling stuck at home and becoming quite fearful of leaving the house, and very often expands to include OCD Obsessive Compulsive Disorder as a further way to (unconsciously) justify remaining inside the house, even though you consciously feel silly about it all.
We have observed that experiencing agoraphobia is very common after long periods of time suffering from anxiety and not getting the right agoraphobia treatment.
When agoraphobia first comes on many people don’t see it, (sometimes it feels like a social phobia) they just feel a little uncomfortable and just force themselves to get on with life, whilst unknowingly developing simple avoidance strategies like; avoiding busy restaurants or visiting certain places. However, as this avoidant behaviour increases and the panic attacks become more common, they need to invent more and more intricate ways of functioning whilst avoiding the triggers, this is emotionally exhausting and the more fatigued they become the more susceptible to panic attacks they become.
As this anxiety disorders deepens it becomes hard to work (or you need to work from home) and it becomes harder to drive, fly and get around, this all makes sense when you realise that (unconsciously) your mind is trying to keep you at home, where it thinks you will be safe (unhappy, yet safe) – certainly it is a strategy, however, not a great one.
Most people who experience this type of phobic response don’t realise that what usually brings it on is either a past period of distress such as, a bereavement, loss of job, relationship failure etc. or a period of low self-esteem or perhaps even, shyness.
Symptoms of Agoraphobia
The symptoms of agoraphobia are the same as for many anxiety disorders, however, they get grouped together in the mind of the experiencer as things like:
- Scared of being in busy places
- Afraid if I can’t see an exit
- Fearful when out of control of a situation (such as flying)
- Feeling ‘safe’ or, at least, less anxious whilst at home
- Needing to have a ‘get out of jail free’ card, such as, anxiety so others can’t make you do things
If you really consider these behaviours they are often from a victim perspective i.e. “I can’t help myself, I get overwhelmed when I am in a busy environment” They are true (currently) however, the circumstances are never going to change – places will always be busy, it is you who needs to take control and make the right changes in how you think, feel and act. That’s why you often need specialist advice and agoraphobia treatment.
Sensible agoraphobia treatment
The Calmness In Mind Agoraphobia Treatment Program teaches you how to recognise what is happening within you, it shows you how to interrupt the anxious feelings, then importantly, helps you to quieten your mind and rebuild your self-esteem. Regaining self-worth and self-belief is one of the most important steps in moving forward and is often overlooked in other treatment programs because people tend to only concentrate on the fear.
This helps you to overcome agoraphobic thoughts and feelings and allows you to free yourself from yourself, because if you want to reconnect with life you are going to need to learn love and respect yourself a little more and from this new perspective, motivation begins to form, and then the desire to make the changes in your life that you know you need to make happen. Sensible agoraphobia treatment for people who want to get on with their lives.