Agoraphobia is one of the most well-known types of anxiety. Many people think that agoraphobia only includes fear of squares. This is not true, however. Agoraphobia goes much further than the fear for city squares. It actually rather concerns fear of large places, in which one does not immediately see a way out. People with agoraphobia are often looking for ways to escape a certain situation. If such options do not seem to be present, this can trigger anxiety.
Agoraphobia: what are the symptoms?
If you suffer from agoraphobia, the following situations are likely to be unpleasant and cause a lot of anxiety:
- When you go far away from home
- Walking through busy streets or shops
- Taking public transport like bus or train
- Driving on the motorway
- Walking through large open spaces like a forest
- When you have to wait in waiting rooms, for example at a doctor's office
As you can see, these include situations where one is not in one's natural habitat, which can then trigger anxiety. These symptoms can have severe consequences. If you have agoraphobia you will notice that you will start to avoid the situations which make you anxious after a while, meaning you isolate yourself. Many people with agoraphobia lock themselves of at home as it were, and do no longer want to leave the house. This also has isolation as a result. You will also notice that you still experience anxiety, even if you no longer leave the house. This is called fear of fear. After a while you condition your brain, and you will also start to experience a fear of fear. This means that you do not experience the anxiety only when you are in contact with the situations which cause these anxiety, but also when you think about the anxiety, for example, or about the symptoms or situations in which the anxiety occurs. Your anxiety will thereby have a larger and larger effect on your life.
Agoraphobia: how do I deal with agoraphobia?
Agoraphobia can be treated by breaking out of the negative vicious cycle of avoidance and anxiety. At the hand of the extent to which you anxiety has developed, the treatment will have to be altered. The faster you deal with your agoraphobia symptoms, the quicker you will be able to become happy again and do what you want to. 15 Minutes 4 Me developed an online self-help program, which supports people with agoraphobia on a daily basis in overcoming their anxiety. The program was put together by doctors and psychologists and has the goal of helping you reach your personal goals and to break through avoidance and anxiety.
Agoraphobia: take the anxiety test!
If you want to know to what extent you experience anxiety symptoms and what influence these have on your life, you can always fill out the free online anxiety test here.