Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder that can extremely hinder a person’s lifestyle. People who suffer from agoraphobia have fear of not being able to escape, being trapped, and feeling helpless or experiencing embarrassment. This fear will force sufferers of agoraphobia to avoid social situations by not leaving their comfort zone. Agoraphobia will cause a person to completely avoid the place in which a situation has the potential to increase their fear and anxiety.
-The fear of using public transportation
-The fear of leaving the home by yourself
-Being exposed to large crowds or even waiting in line
-Being enclosed in a public space (elevators, waiting rooms, stores, theaters, etc.)
-Exposure to large open spaces
Physical symptoms include:
-Pain in the chest area
-Experiencing a rush of heat or chills
-Diarrhea and/or nausea
-Increased heart rate
-Shaking and trouble breathing
In all of these situations, a person who experiences agoraphobia will have the fear of being exposed out in a public space without having access to help or safety. The anxiety can be so debilitating that an agoraphobic person will completely avoid these situations altogether. Agoraphobia can also lead to depression and other anxiety disorders.
Signs of potential agoraphobia:
-The avoidance social situations in free time and in the workplace
-The complete avoidance of situations that may cause embarrassment
-These feelings last more than 6 months
-The realization that the anxiety is greater than the situation at hand
-Making excuses to avoid what is believed to be potentially disabling situations
If a person experiences these feelings for more than 6 months than a consultation of a medical professional or doctor may be needed. If these symptoms are severely hindering day-to-day life, such as jobs, relationships with friends and family, and generally leaving the house, then agoraphobia could be present.
Agoraphobia typically begins in early childhood but in some cases, may not appear until early adulthood, before the age of 35. Women more commonly experience agoraphobia than men. There is a biological factor to agoraphobia and this anxiety disorder could be linked to genetics.
Symptoms are shown to worsen if help is not received early on. For those who believe they have agoraphobia, seek help immediately in order to prevent it from becoming debilitating. A trained medical professional can use techniques to help with coping and stress relieving.
While there is no official method of prevention of agoraphobia, sufferers can essentially practice going out to public places where their anxiety is heightened. By repeating this process, exposure in public places and social situations can help lessen anxiety over time. This will help stop the fear from becoming too overwhelming. For those who cannot do this on their own, asking a trusted friend or family member can help.