Living with agoraphobia is incredibly challenging. On one hand, the person’s quality of life significantly diminishes. This is because they fear leaving their home, or have unnecessary anxiety about going places where they would ordinarily be perfectly safe but they feel uncomfortable due to unrealistic or unnecessary fears of being stuck or trapped. For the social person, agoraphobia represents a real challenge and necessitates making excuses, justifying why you “can’t” go out, or living in isolation.
On the other hand, for the less social, active, or motivated person, agoraphobia can exacerbate tendencies to isolate one’s self. Either way, agoraphobia is a challenging condition to live with. So, why continue to live that way?
The reason most people do, as with any other mental health condition, is because they go without help. An additional challenge for those with agoraphobia is the very idea of leaving their home (their “safe place”) to attend therapy sessions or doctor’s appointments. (For this reason, we offer HIPAA-compliant telehealth options!, though would only encourage this early on in treatment until the person progresses to leaving their home).
What is Agoraphobia?
Agoraphobia is the fear of being in places you believe you won’t be able to escape or find help if you start to feel panic or experience other disabling or embarrassing symptoms. This leads to fears of leaving home alone, being in enclosed spaces, being in crowds or waiting in lines, using forms of public transportation such as a bus, plane, or train, or being in open spaces like parking lots or festivals.
Key aspects of agoraphobia are that:
- the anxiety is out of proportion to the actual seriousness or danger of the situation
- you experience avoidance of the situation
- exposure to the situation comes with extreme distress
- you have the need for a companion to go places with you
- the distress interferes with areas of your life such as your social, occupational, or educational functioning
- the fear and avoidance lasts for at least six months
The Path to Living Without Agoraphobia
Agoraphobia requires the necessary component of confronting your fears – i.e., what we call exposure. While this may sound daunting to someone with agoraphobia, if you want to regain your quality of life and live a life without unnecessary fear, confronting your fears through exposure exercises is the only way to see lasting results.
In addition to exposure exercises, CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) is highly effective at changing the way you look at such situations that produce anxiety. With the combination of CBT and exposure exercises, a person can make significant changes in their life resulting in the freedom to go places without hesitation, anxiety, or fear.
WE CAN HELP
At Tampa Therapy, we are anxiety disorder specialists. If you are looking to regain your quality of life by increasing your willingness and ability to be mobile without anxiety or fear, we would love to help. We can provide the tools and strategies needed for helping you change your thinking, reduce worry and anxiety, and increase your activity level and life quality. In addition to strategy, we provide continued support and a realistic framework to keep you motivated and progressing.
Whatever the reason, give us a call. Remember, there are many reasons why people seek therapy. Professional mental health assistance can greatly benefit you in many ways, including making important changes in your life.
We are committed to providing therapy and counseling services in a comfortable, relaxing, encouraging, and non-judgmental environment to yield the most realistic and best outcomes. Give us a call or email us today to schedule an appointment.