As far as agoraphobia triggers go, just about any situation can trigger a panic attack. This is one reason why many agoraphobics avoid going anywhere.
The logic behind this is, "If I don't go out and put myself in this situation, I'm safe. Nobody will see me having a panic attack. I don't want a panic attack. I hate it. I'll stay home."
Many people with agoraphobia have problems being in crowds of people. Others have problems being in enclosed areas. And many others report issues when they drive a car. It's quite common for shopping malls, movie theaters, and restaurants to be agoraphobia triggers.
Going Out Alone Is A Major Trigger
Though being in a line-up, at the cinema, crowded places, restaurants, public transport; all of which can be triggers, perhaps the biggest obstacle is just the act of going out by oneself.
This is especially so when the place is unfamiliar or far from home. Either you can't go, or you need to take someone you trust with you. This can be a family member or friend.
When you bring another person with you or stay at home or otherwise avoid things you feel might be agoraphobia triggers, chances are, you may not get a panic attack. This is a key point. This shows that your thinking plays a MAJOR role in agoraphobia.
Thoughts Create Agoraphobia Triggers
When you think about it, there is nothing inherently terrifying about a movie theater. It's what you think about it that causes the fear.
"This place is really crowded and full of people. If I have a panic attack everyone will notice, and I will feel so embarrassed! The exit seems so far away. I might not be able to get out. I feel trapped in here."
Those thoughts would make anyone feel nervous. And yet there are many other thoughts we could think in that same situation.
"There are lots of people here who are happily watching the show. If I have a problem, there are many people who could help me. Although they might be startled if I had a panic attack, most people are kind and want to help others. I'm looking forward to watching this movie, I've heard it had great reviews."
That sort of "self talk" feels soothing, calm and realistic.
How to Change Your Harmful Thinking Patterns
Cognitive behavior therapy is a method for helping you become aware of the anxiety producing thoughts that can trigger a panic attack. Through this sort of therapy, you learn to really analyze your thoughts, see if they are truly realistic, and if not replace them with more realistic thinking patterns.
Then and only then, armed with your new tools, you start to confront situations that you normally avoid because they make you feel fearful. This is best done in the company of a therapist. This procedure is called exposure therapy.
Research on agoraphobia shows that avoidance is one of the key factors that maintains and eventually worsens agoraphobia.
By using a two step process which invloves modifying thought patterns, and then being assisted in actually doing specific activities, you can eliminate agoraphobia triggers from your life.
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