There are numerous anxiety disorders an individual can develop. What anxiety disorders all have in common is that the subject can feel intensely afraid, worried and anxious in certain situations. Within the same grouping of anxiety disorders are phobias, which similarly cause irrational, yet intense, fear, worry and anxiety in reaction to certain circumstances. Agoraphobia is one such phobia a person could have, and it is one of the most commonly treated phobias in the world. What's more, it can be an overpowering phobia, which often needs specific treatment for it to be reduced.
WHAT IS AGORAPHOBIA?
Far more than just a case of feeling shy or reserved, agoraphobia is an overpowering sense of dread of leaving the safety of home and venturing into the perceived danger of the outside world. It can also be found in combination with other phobias, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder or social anxiety. Its symptoms include feeling trapped, out of control and outside of the zone in which people feel in control and comfortable. Sometimes, the feelings of agoraphobia can be so overpowering that people suffering from it feel incapable of leaving their home due to the fear of anxiety they can experience when going outside.
AGORAPHOBIA IS NOT THE SAME AS SOCIAL PHOBIA
Agoraphobia is quite a misunderstood condition. Firstly, agoraphobia is not a fear of open spaces, nor is it a fear of being in a crowd of people. Although these conditions may be present within a person as well, agoraphobia is essentially a fear of being too far from a safe location, regardless of other people. Many people suffering from agoraphobia welcome guests into their home, even if they themselves do not leave. Agoraphobics want to feel in complete control of a situation to feel secure and relaxed.
THERE ISN'T A GENETIC CODE FOR AGORAPHOBIA
There are no social or genetic traits that can suggest whether somebody will develop agoraphobia. Agoraphobia is about twice as common amongst women than among men, however. The development of agoraphobia can be predicted, however, if someone is suffering from a more generalised form of anxiety disorder, panic attack or phobia, such as social anxiety . Happily, agoraphobia can be treated. The best treatment is a combination of gradual exposure and medication so that the person suffering from it can become more used to being outside their comfort zone and teach their brains not to worry about it.
Some therapists will visit agoraphobics at home, and treatments like hypnosis are becoming more popular as a treatment for agoraphobia and other anxiety conditions. Cognitive behavioral therapy will also help you get to grips your agoraphobia or social anxiety so that you can understand to feel calm and have less fear in social situations or outside your home.
WHILE THE CAUSES ARE DIFFERENT, TREATMENT IS THE SAME
Even celebrities have dealt with agoraphobia in the past, including Woody Allen, Kim Basinger and celebrity chef Paula Dean. The key is to recognize that it can be overcome. If you suffer from agoraphobia, the first step is to ask for help from your family, friends or doctor to begin the recovery process.
While two different anxiety disorders, agoraphobia and social phobia can be developed at the same time. What they also have in common is that people suffering from it can try to decrease their sense of dread by self medicating with alcohol or illegal drugs. But the best and healthiest way to treat both social anxiety disorder and agoraphobia is to visit your doctor. Medication and therapy can help you work through either disorder so that you can live a healthy and socially active life.
Social anxiety disorder started during my childhood and then spread into my adult life. I'm now able to go where I want and do the things I want to do without being filled with fear. I created a social anxiety disorder website to share the strategies that worked for me in the help they can help others.