General Question

jhellion1031's avatar

Anyone else suffer from agorophobia?

Asked by jhellion1031 (108 points ) August 30th, 2014

I am 33 years old & I have always had a kind of social anxiety but over the past 5 or 6 years things have gotten progressively worse. It’s getting harder & harder for me to leave my house. When I do force myself to get out it starts a ticking clock in my brain that always counts down to a blinding panic episode. I have panic episodes any way but the ones brought on by being in public are a different type of beast. I’m calling them panic episodes instead of panic attacks because panic attacks are relatively short lived, maybe 3 or 4 hours tops, but these can last for days. I’ve even had a couple that lasted more than 2 weeks. Anyway, I guess I’m just wondering if anyone else in the collective has been, or is still currently having similar problems. Can I get past this? Or is this the end of any kind of normal life?

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6 Answers

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

A good excuse to get out of the house, with a purpose, is to make an appointment with a psychotherapist. Don’t put it off like I did. You’ll wish you hadn’t, like I do.

It’s great man. You’ll be a better person for it. Isn’t that what you want? To get better?

It’s time to live.

janbb's avatar

I too recommend therapy. You shouldn’t have to live with such suffering.

Coloma's avatar

Yes, please consider therapy and maybe an anti-anxiety medication. It’s one thing to be a homebody type, to a degree, I enjoy being home and doing my thing, but….to be unable to leave your home without paralyzing panic attacks is a whole ‘nother ballgame.
You should be at ease in doing the outside things life requires, such as work, shopping, etc.

Kardamom's avatar

I know one of our Jellies had agoraphobia, not sure if she’s still on the site.

Here is some Info from the Mayo clinic about the condition and how to treat it. Like the others have said, don’t wait to get treated, or you will lose years of your life living in your own prison. Keep talking to us on Fluther too, if you need help getting motivated. Make that phone call on Tuesday (because of the holiday weekend). Good luck : )

Pachy's avatar

I haven’t, but perhaps films on this list and/or this one will be helpful to you.

Buttonstc's avatar

If you’re imagining that treatment will take years and years, nothing could be further from the truth.

Generally speaking, treatment for any type of phobia has an incredibly high success rate in a fairly short amount of time (we’re talking about weeks and months here, depending upon the individual).

All that’s really necessary I’d for the person to be willing to follow the therapists directions.

I had a different phobia from agorophobia but that’s really beside the point. A phobia is an irrational level of fear to the point of crippling one’s life. The particular fear is not that important.

When a Dr. first told me that there was a cure for this, I couldn’t imagine that at all. He told me that wasn’t necessary and that I would never be forced to do anything I wasn’t
ready for.

All that was necessary was for me to show up once a week and be willing to follow the
instructions he gave me.

So, I figured that if he was willing to guarantee that I would never be forced to do anything I wasn’t ready to do, I could certainly show up on time and follow instructions.

(of course I didn’t think it would work but he said that was fine).

It was basically a combination of learning how to physically relax (and there is a specific technique for that) while I was presented with visualizing myself in gradually stronger images that produced fear.

It was a very gradual process since the entire thing revolves around a “hierarch of fear” list and just going from one step to the next very gradually.

And about three months later, I calmy did what I never thought possible. To my great surprise, he was right.

Find a therapist who ihas experience dealing with phobias. Interview several by phone and ask them what their procedure entails.

You want a behaviorist NOT a psychoanalyst (or that really will tale years of talking. This is good for some things but NOT for phobias. Even if you figured out the root cause, it’s pretty much bedside the point. )

Find yourself a behavioral therapist with whom you feel comfortable and set up an appointment.

And get yourself the book I’ll list. It’s not expensive because it’s an older book so you can get it from Amazon for cheap. But old doesn’t always mean outdated. There’s also the TRIED AND TRUE which is timeless.

Start reading and following his method (particularly if you need help getting out the door to that first appointment :) but it will be useful all throughout the process.

The title is: “The Relaxation Response” by Dr. Herbert Benson

You don’t need to spend any more years of your life imprisoned by fear. Why would you when there is realistic proven help which can change things in a matter of months?

Go get that book it’s a good start and its something achievable right now.

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