The term “agoraphobia” which you are probably already quite familiar with, is an anxiety disorder so severe that a person may never leave his/her home until a cure is found. Agoraphobia literally translates to “fear of marketplace” but generally a person with agoraphobia has a fear of being in any public place such as supermarkets, shopping centres, trams, trains, planes andairports.
Agoraphobia starts as a mild anxiety that may be associated with a particular event which then escalates over time and becomes an exaggerated fear of being in public places. Many mental health experts believe that agoraphobia is caused due to the anxiety of panic or of losing control or embarrassing oneself. To know what agoraphobia is like, let’s look at a case study.
Claire Ledger, a nurse was diagnosed by agoraphobia after she had a panic attack on a street she was shopping. She associated her panic attack with the street and the place she was shopping, therefore she stopped going to that location. As time passed, she experienced more panic attacks in different locations and she made it a habit to stop going to places she experiences a panic attack. Eventually the only place she felt safe was her house.
She quit her job as a nurse and spent the next two years as a nurse. She read, watched TV, surfed the net and took care of her husband who was on the wheel chair.
“When I had the first attack, I didn’t know what was happening,” says Claire, who lives in Bradford, West Yorkshire. “I was in a shop and felt faint all of a sudden, and had to crouch down to avoid collapsing. I was shaking and felt sick.”
“Where ever it happened, I avoided that place. Instead of thinking it was me, I associated the panic attack with the place where it happened. I was such an outgoing person, the idea that it was all in my head never occurred to me.”
She got to a point where she was afraid of going to her own garden. As you would expect, this affected her social life and even her relationship with her husband as he liked going out for events.
Their neighbours, a couple who were in their 70s did her shopping and got her all the supplies. “I felt ashamed that someone in their 70s was doing my shopping,” says Claire.
Claire was determined to seek treatment and started to looking for therapy. With the help of CBT ( Cognitive behavioural therapy) and talking to people who were suffering with the same condition Claire was able to improve her situation. In the next two years, Claire was able to step out of her doorstep and walk a few blocks. She started to gain confidence and now she is working as a nurse yet again.
To know more about the story clink the link below
- Cognitive behavioural therapy
- Systematic Desensitisation
- Exposure techniques
- Medications (SSRI)
Agoraphobia is treatable and can be cured with the right treatment. If you know anyone who is suffering from this condition, make sure they get proper help so they can get back and live a normal life again.
Edited by: Keerthana Suresh
https://www.deviantart.com/nanayuuna/art/Agoraphobia-549939777 (Featured image)