What is agoraphobia?
Agoraphobia, has over the years, usually been defined as a fear of open spaces. However, extensive research has expanded the definition to include a fear of shops, shopping malls, a fear of crowds, public places, and even a fear of travelling alone on buses or trains.
Agoraphobia is also an anxiety disorder which often develops after you have had one or more panic attacks. The symptoms include the fear and avoidance of situations that may trigger feelings of panic, and helplessness, should a panic attack take place.
Perhaps the greatest fear is that a full-blown panic attack, which usually arrives out of the blue, may find you in a distressing situation from which you feel there is no escape, and no help available.
The symptoms of a panic attack are often frightening. They include shaking, a rapid heartbeat, chest pain, trouble breathing, and a feeling of a loss of control, amongst others.
These physical symptoms are unable to be hidden, and if they occur in a public place, can lead to a person avoiding similar circumstances or places in case it happens again.
Agoraphobia can begin in childhood, but usually starts in the late teenage years, or later in adult years. Women are more frequently diagnosed than men.
How agoraphobia can negatively affect your life.
The activities of your life can be enormously limited by agoraphobia. Eventually, if it is severe, and is not treated, you may not even be able to leave your home. People without treatment can stay housebound for years, unable to visit the shops to run errands, keep their jobs, or socialise with friends and family.
The fear of leaving your surroundings is intensified by anxiety that you may suffer a panic attack in a public place where you could be trapped, and without help you may need.
In effect, agoraphobia makes your world very much smaller, because you have a life, which you cannot live.
How is agoraphobia treated?
Treating agoraphobia can be challenging. A doctor may prescribe certain antidepressants which are also used for panic disorders, and have a calming effect. Some doctors might even try anti-anxiety medications for a short time, but the downside is that the anti-anxiety meds specifically, are potentially habit-forming. Medications may also take weeks to ease the symptoms, and you may have to try a few different medications before finding one that works for you.
Is there another treatment protocol?
Studies have indicated that hypnotherapy in the form of cognitive behavioural therapy, or CBT, is a short-term treatment which has shown remarkable success in the treatment of agoraphobia. Experienced hypnotherapists also use an enhanced CBT model of hypno-psychotherapy, which has the additional advantage of working with the subconscious mind for more powerful and quicker results when treating folk who suffer from the detrimental symptoms of agoraphobia.
How the CBT, or hypnotherapy, can help agoraphobia sufferers.
Mind power is one of the strongest and most useful attributes you possess. Everything starts in the mind, and your thoughts are ultimately responsible for how you live your life. The hypnotherapist who will treat you knows that the fears which fuel agoraphobia has its roots in your subconscious mind.
The hypnosis techniques in the program will help you make important changes at the unconscious level of your mind, which can completely eliminate irrational fears and unexpected panic and anxiety attacks.
Here are some of the things you will learn from the hypnotherapy treatment.
· How to cope with feelings of anxiety.
· How to identify exterior factors which may trigger a panic attack, or panic-like symptoms.
· Ways to directly confront and challenge your fears.
· How to deal with worries and concerns about bad things which may occur in social situations, or public places where there are other people.
· Your anxiety will gradually decrease, and you will gain confidence if you remain in upsetting situations, you will be able to manage any symptoms which may arise.
· You will also learn how to defuse unwanted responses when facing places and circumstances that may cause fear and anxiety.
Working with the therapist, you will be able to set goals as you learn practical skills to help reduce the symptoms of anxiety.
It is not a life sentence.
Agoraphobia is a fully-treatable condition. If not treated, it has the potential to shut down your life, and turn you into a recluse.
CBT, or hypno-psychotherapy, is a safe, effective way to help you escape from the trap of agoraphobia – and take back control of your life.