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What is Agoraphobia?
Agoraphobia is a type of anxiety disorder that relates to fear of certain places or situations where help might not be available or escape might be difficult. Common fears include things like: being in crowds, standing in lines, being in enclosed spaces, being in open spaces, being away from home, being home alone, taking an elevator, travelling in a bus, train, or car, or crossing a bridge. People with agoraphobia tend to suffer through these types of situations, need a companion to face them, or avoid them all together.
How does Agoraphobia develop?
Often people fear places or situations where they previously had a panic attack, because they worry about triggering another one. Due to fear of feeling trapped, helpless or embarrassed, they avoid these places. Unfortunately, avoiding places and situations tends to make problems worse, as the “safety zone” tends to get smaller and smaller overtime. People can end up becoming completely housebound for years if agoraphobia is not treated. Once housebound, it becomes difficult or impossible to work, see friends or loved ones, or leave the house to do tasks of daily living such as get groceries or attend doctor’s appointments.
Overcoming agoraphobia can be challenging because it means facing your fears. However, agoraphobia tends to get worse overtime if left untreated, so seeking therapy can be helpful as a way to help you get your life back on track. If you cannot attend your first appointment in person, alternative arrangements may be possible, please contact us for more details.