Two Different Cases Of Agoraphobia
Two Treatments, Two Different Outcomes
Each person is different and unique, but in severe cases of agoraphobia, any person may become totally housebound, helpless and end up being discouraged and depressed.
When you have this disease it is not uncommon to feel helpless, useless, vulnerable, scared and angry.
Angie was only 18 years old when she had her first panic attack. It took place at an amusement park on the roller coaster. Since then she has had panic attacks at the shopping mall, in a restaurant, at the movies and in art class.
She is now 25 years old and has dropped out of art college because the fear of having another panic attack in class just made her too uncomfortable to focus. Her grades began to fall and she missed too many classes.
She practices art at home but no longer gets the feedback from other students and teachers. Angie is becoming more isolated every day. It seems the more she does to try to avoid situations where she might become fearful, the more afraid she becomes.
She has thought about getting help but feels too embarassed to tell her story. Plus she would have to sit in an office waiting room to talk to someone, not what she really feels comfortable doing! Instead she takes Ativan when her anxiety gets totally out of control.
Her best strategy so far is to just avoid the places, people and activities that cause her to feel like she might panic. She feels initial relief and comfort having given herself another break from challenges that seem too big. Bit not long afterwards she just feels sad and disappointed with herself.
Friends are getting tired of her limited list of places she feels safe to go and some are frustrated with her and feeling used. She only feels safe grocery shopping if one of them is with her.
Don't Ignore Agoraphobia
For those who have little experience or knowledge of agoraphobia, you may presume that by ignoring it, it somehow will just eventually go away.
And actually the more you ignore it, the more you avoid the experiences you fear, the tighter the grip of agoraphobia.
Avoidance works the same way. Keep avoiding the things that cause fear or anxiety, and you reinforce the feeling in your mind that the acitivity is dangerous.
You must take the hard but brave step of addressing the underlying fear and dealing with it. But only small steps at a time. With each little success building on another.
Otherwise, this is a condition that could last, not only years, but for the rest of your life.
Know that help is available! In most cases of agoraphobia, treatment with cognitive behavior therapy is very successful.
A person with agoraphobia may feel there is no hope. They may think that there is no way out. There IS no EASY way out though. Overcoming agoraphobia requires patience, support and hard work.
Making The Breakthrough
Don't be put off by your "failures" as you attempt to recover. And don't view them as failures. Instead, each attempt brings you closer to that major breakthrough.
Lynn has led the life of a recluse for almost 17 years. She lives alone with her husband and their two chihuahuas.
Since having a series of frightening panic attacks many years ago she quit her job and decided to stay home and look after her house and husband. It seemed to make sense at the time becasue working was becoming a source of distress.
For awhile it seemed like every day she would tell herself - "tomorrow will be the day I get better - tomorrow I will try going out by myself shopping". But each day she found an excuse for why this was not the right day.
Recently a family member suggested she see a therapist. She followed this advice and was fortunate to find a therapist who came to her home for the first appointment.
Lynn is now recovering slowly and getting more and more confident about going out on her own, meeting people and facing her fears instead of running away.
She supplements her monthly therapist sessions with self help programs, relaxation tapes, yoga, self hypnosis a healthy low-panic diet.
Although Lynn felt she had one of the most severe cases of agoraphobia, Lynn is now becoming an excellent example one of the cases of agoraphobia with a successful recovery!
Step on The Pathway to Healing
You can be like Lynn. Studies show that cognitive behavior therapy is the most successful treatment for agoraphobia. Find a therapist who can work with you to gradually address your fears and change your behaviors.
With the right treatment, and persistance and dedication all cases of agoraphobia have an excellent chance of significant improvement.
Once you have some success, you realize that you can push on, that you can do this, and it gives you that bit of confidence you never thought you'd have as far as agoraphobia is concerned.
Remember this - brush aside the bad days and get back on your path to recovery. Work to maintain your confidence and determination.
You will eventually kiss agoraphobia goodbye.
Learn more about agoraphobia
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