Reading agoraphobia case studies is a great way to realize that you are not alone! There are others who are suffering from this condition and many who have recovered.
It's also a way for friends or relatives of agoraphobics to learn about the condition. Hearing about other examples can foster better understanding.
Below are several agoraphobia case studies - the stories of several people whose are identified just by their first name to protect their privacy. I hope that their experiences will help to create increased understanding of both the everyday struggles and possibilities for successful treatment of agoraphobia.
Agoraphobia Case Studies - Kaitlynn
Growing up, I had always been a shy fearful child. It was hard for me to make friends because I rarely did anything. I was always the child following a group of others hoping to be included but never saying anything or initiating play. Other kids were not mean to me but they also didn't notice me. My memories of childhood included a great deal of running to keep up with other children. I felt invisible most of the time.
I am not sure how I came to be such a timid and withdrawn child, but I don't remember being any other way.
I settled into a life of following others and this seemed to be acceptable for everyone until we reached the teen years.
I was of course not cool and it became unacceptable for me to hang around with others as associating with me would bring down their popularity level. I soon became shunned, then bullied.
I became increasingly anxious and my parents sent me to a therapist. I went on medication.
My first panic attack happened when a group of popular kids who were hanging out at the shopping mall began to taunt me. I didn't know what was happening but I was dizzy, sweating, shaking and terrified. I couldn't breathe and thought I was going to pass out or die.
The humiliation of feeling this way in front of others made things even worse. Of course I was careful never to go to that shopping mall again.
However I found myself reacting with extreme feelings of fear whenever I went to other shopping malls. It was like the memory of that one experience had flooded into my mind any time I tried to go somewhere similar.
I soon became tense and shaky even at the thought of going places where I might meet people who might not like me. Shopping malls, movie theatres, office buildings, and of course school became a challenge for me.
It was such a relief to just stay home where I was comfortable and could be in control of things.
I continued to have panic attacks and worried about having them. I worried about having one and not being able to get away. I started to feel claustrophobic if I was in an elevator.
I cannot tell you how frustrating it was to have such a small life with so few possibilities. I was so alone.
I found a calming routine of getting online on my computer and even made some friends with people on forums and chat rooms who also suffered from anxiety, panic attacks and depression. These people actually reached out to me and could relate to where I was coming from.
I learned that my fear of leaving the house and going out anywhere had a name - agoraphobia. It was odd that my first therapist never told me that. But I had stopped going to her long ago as it was too hard to wait in the waiting room of her office for me.
I am now making progress with the help of a new therapist who specializes in cognitive behavior therapy and flooding techniques. I have started to gain confidence and I am not so restricted in where I can go and what I can do.
I made so many changes to my diet and lifestyle as well and have begun to relearn social skills so that I am able to interact with people and not be so withdrawn and afraid. I am so much better able to stay in the moment and relax and not fear panic attacks. Since I don't fear them they no longer have control over me.
My advice to anyone with agoraphobia is to not give up, no matter how hopeless you may feel. I am living proof that you can feel better and that your life can go from isolation and panic to increasing confidence and comfort and happiness.
Agoraphobia - An Inspiring & Fabulous Story of Hope
Agoraphobia Case Studies - Jonathan
I have no idea why I became an agoraphobia sufferer but I know what caused my first panic attack.
I was in first year university majoring in philosophy and computer science, and living in residence. It was my first year away from home.
A friend of mine was also in philosophy introduced me to mind altering drugs. My first trip on LSD caused my first panic attack.
I guess I just never got over it. I am not sure if my brain chemistry has permanently changed or what but I am so afraid of being somewhere away from home and freaking out and not having anyone to help me.
Most people don't understand what happened to me and why I am now so consumed by fear and neither do I.
I have been diagnosed with agoraphobia.
Agoraphobia Case Studies - Leah
Hello! I am a normal wife and mother living in suburbia.
My life came crashing down around me once I hit menopause. I am not sure if it was hormones, or a medical condition or just the empty nest syndrome but I began to feel anxious almost all of the time.
I had my first panic attack while attending an opera with a couple of girlfriends. It was being held in sponsorship of a charity and I was supposed to be one of the presenters after the performance.
As we sat in our seats watching and listening to this grand event, I began to feel hot and flushed. My heart was pounding so hard I thought it would burst. My skin felt cold and clammy and I felt like my airway was closing up.
I became so worried about these symptoms I asked my friend to call an ambulance, fearful I was having a heart attack.
I received a thorough examination at the hospital. I was told it was not a heart attack but most likely a panic attack.
I am not sure what to think of this diagnosis. I feel like there is something physically wrong with me. At the grocery store recently I started to feel shaky and just went home instead of shopping. I was afraid those horrible symptoms were returning.
I have noticed I start to feel anxious any time I need to go out. I am prefering to stay indoors and am worried I am now becoming agoraphobic.
More Stories from Agoraphobia Sufferers
These agoraphobia case studies have been included to help promote an understanding of this condition and how it develops and progresses.
If you think you might have this condition or know someone who might, please know that there are several different methods of successful agoraphobia treatment options available.
Don't give up! You can get better!
Follow the links below to read more agoraphobia case studies.