Agoraphobia Can Be Devastating
Agoraphobia is the inordinate fear of open spaces and crowds. Sometimes called a panic disorder, is can be extremely debilitating to those suffering from it.
Women suffer from this panic disorder at a higher rate than men. The reason for this is not clear. It usually sets in after the age of twenty-five, and once again the reason for this is unclear.
This type of behavior may be a learned behavior stemming from an incident that occurred in the past. When that same situation arises people may simply react the same way they did before, making it a repeating cycle that can be very hard to control.
Common Physical Symptoms Of Agoraphobia Include
Shortness of breath where the panic they are feeling makes it difficult to breathe normally. They may also experience chest pain which can lead to a feeling of physical discomfort. This discomfort may also cause their heart rate to speed up.
Severe sweating along with trembling of the hands and body induced by a severe anxiety. On the opposite side, they may also develop chills.
Chest pain and a racing heart can develop as their body tries to cope with the inordinate stress they are feeling.
Mental Side Effects Of Agoraphobia
The anxiety that stems from their feeling of panic can cause certain, unhealthy fears all by itself. Fear of dying, where they have lost the feeling of personal safety to the point they begin to fear for their life. Even though these feelings are unfounded, the agoraphobic may not be able to help seeing their life coming to an end.
All of these unfounded fears may lead some to feel they are going crazy, or insane. They know their thoughts are irrational but because they are not able to stop them, they start looking for an explanation. It can become easy to blame your thoughts on mental instability. After all, couldn’t only a deranged person think like that?
It is easy for someone with these symptoms to sink into a feeling of helplessness. When you don’t feel you can change your condition, you can begin to lose faith in yourself and look to others for support. This dependence on others that sometimes happens can compound the feeling of hopelessness.
When they know that these emotions don’t make sense, some people begin to doubt whether they are living in a real world at all. Their surroundings and even their own self may take on the appearance of being nothing more than a dream, or even a nightmare.
How People Cope With Agoraphobia
When the outside world becomes so frightening that you no longer want to deal with it, it’s common to want to escape from the outside world altogether. Simply refusing to leave their home altogether makes life feel safe. If they are surrounded by their own four walls, they feel protected from a world they can’t control. Staying indoors, often for years on end helps them to avoid the panic attacks they feel in the outside world.
There Is Hope For Agoraphobia
Treatment is available for agoraphobia and usually consists of a combination of personal therapy and counseling, along with antidepressant medications. The medications help them to control the severity of their panic attacks while the counseling aids them in dealing with their individual fears.
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