Agoraphobia is a mental health disorder that is characterized by an irrational fear of open or public places. People who suffer from agoraphobia may become fearful or anxious at the thought of leaving their home, or being in public places where escape might be difficult. Agoraphobia can be a very debilitating disorder, as it often limits a person’s ability to participate in social activities, work, or go to school.
People with agoraphobia may also experience panic attacks, which are sudden episodes of intense fear or anxiety. Panic attacks can be so severe that they cause physical symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or dizziness.
Medication for Agoraphobia
If you are struggling with agoraphobia, you may benefit from therapy combined with antidepressants. Antidepressants help to reduce anxiety and panic attacks, and improve overall functioning. The most commonly prescribed antidepressants for agoraphobia are SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), such as fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), and sertraline (Zoloft). Other antidepressants that may be prescribed include venlafaxine (Effexor) and duloxetine (Cymbalta).
Talk to your doctor about whether one of these medications is well-suited to your situation and whether they can prescribe a particular medicine for you through a source like CanadaDrugstore.
It may take several weeks to see the full effects of antidepressants for agoraphobia. During this time, it is important to continue taking the medication as prescribed, even if you feel like the medication is not helping. If you feel that the medication is not working or is causing unwanted side effects, be sure to talk to your doctor.
Therapy Sessions for Agoraphobia
Therapy can help you understand the thoughts and emotions that contribute to your fear, and antidepressants can help reduce the symptoms of panic attacks. What to expect during your first therapy session will vary depending on the individual, but may include cognitive-behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, mindfulness-based therapies, or medication.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that can help you change the thoughts and behaviors that contribute to your anxiety. CBT focuses on the idea that how we think about a situation can affect how we feel and how we behave. For agoraphobia, specifically, this form of therapy can help you change your thinking patterns so that you view situations that would normally cause you anxiety in a more positive light.
CBT can also help you change the behaviors that are contributing to your anxiety. For example, if you tend to avoid certain situations because you are afraid of having a panic attack, CBT can help you gradually start to face those situations. This can help you learn that the situations you are afraid of are not as dangerous as you think they are, and that you can handle them.
Exposure therapy is a type of CBT that can help you gradually face your fears. For agoraphobia, this might mean gradually exposing yourself to more and more public places. The therapist will work with you to create a treatment plan that’s tailored to your specific needs. During exposure therapy, you’ll gradually face your fears while being monitored and supported by the therapist. This might involve going to a mall, sitting in a restaurant, or going to a movie theater. You might start by just looking at pictures of these places, then gradually move on to being in the same room as the feared object or situation. Over time, you’ll likely find that your fear starts to lessen and you’ll be able to do more and more things that you used to avoid.
Mindfulness-based therapies involve becoming more aware of your thoughts and feelings, and accepting them without judgment. For agoraphobia, this may include learning how to tolerate uncertainty and fear, and slowly facing your fears in a safe and controlled environment.
If you are struggling with agoraphobia, it is important to seek help. With the right treatment, you can learn to manage your symptoms and live a full and productive life.