What is Agoraphobia?
Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder. It is often coupled with Social Anxiety. People with this disorder are often frightened they will be stuck somewhere and not be able to get out easily. Likewise, they fear having a panic attack in a public place from which there is no easy means of escape. Consequently, people with Agoraphobia often avoid open or crowded places such as concerts, malls, airports, elevators, sporting events, public transportation, busy restaurants, movie theaters… When this troubling disorder has its vice-like grip on its victim, the person often cannot leave her home. Initially, home is considered safe while anywhere outside is not. Eventually, however, even the home is not safe. People retreat to their bedrooms, then their beds…
People with disorder typically avoid the types of situations they fear. Thus, someone who worries about being stuck on a subway, train or plane, will likely avoid any kind of public transportation. If they do participate in an activity or action that invokes their fears, they may require someone to accompany them.
What Helps You When You’re Stuck?
This nasty disorder often is helped by systematic desensitization. In general terms, this means that people address their fears, first mentally, then in real life situations. People typically work with a therapist and work slowly. They begin by addressing those situations that bother them the least, then work their way up. Have hope. People with Agoraphobia can get better.