Agoraphobia shouldn’t be dismissed because of its adverse impact on quality of life. The anxiety disorder can result in you actually feeling so overwhelmed by your fear of public places that leaving home becomes nearly impossible! Fortunately, you can get a go at conquering your fears!
Understand Your Phobia First
Agoraphobia refers to the extreme fear wherein you avoid situations, places and even people that may result in your feelings of being helpless, trapped, or embarrassed coming to the fore. Your fear may be of anticipated or actual situations, such as being in either open or closed spaces, being in a crowd, or even taking public transportation, but it has an irrational basis. Your fear may also be based on your anxiety that escaping the situation or getting help will be difficult.
Your anxiety disorder doesn’t develop in just one instance. In fact, it may have built up over several panic attacks until such time that even the thought of another panic attack in certain places causes you to avoid them. You will then stop feeling safe in most, if not all, public places especially in crowded places. You may be able to go into these places but only with a companion, if you even get to the point where you can conquer your fear.
Conquer Your Phobia Second
While your active participation in your treatment plan is a must, you cannot do it alone. You and your doctor, as well as your close family and friends, also play crucial roles in your success in conquering your phobia.
You have to be prepared for the ups and downs of your treatment because these are inevitable. You’re only human, after all, and you have to confront your own worst fears, which is the most difficult part of the treatment. You will sometimes feel that you are your own worst enemy.
But don’t despair because there’s always hope for as long as you have it! Your doctor will likely recommend the following methods in your treatment plan:
- Psychotherapy wherein you will learn effective methods including practical skills in reducing your anxiety. You will also identify your triggers and the ways to deal with them, face your fears head-on, and change unhealthy behaviors, among others.
- Medications, which can include antidepressants (e.g., Prozac) and benzodiazepines (e.g., Klonopin). You have to be patient in taking these medications, as prescribed by your doctor, since it may take weeks for them to take effects. These also have side effects that you must discuss with your doctor since a change in medication or dosage may be necessary.
Most important, you have to help yourself! In the end, the best person who can help you overcome your fears lies within yourself.