Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Agoraphobia is not a mental illness, even though panic attacks may make you feel like you are going crazy.Agoraphobia is a complex phobia and can involve a series of inter-linked phobias. We all experience fear at one time at least once in our lives. When we were kids, we were very scared to go to school the first day knowing that people were strangers.
We are also terrified by the idea of having to go to the dentist. Some had lesser degree of fear such as dreading the thought of having to speak before a crowd or reciting in front of the class. Some manage to overcome those fears, but others are still overwhelmed by their fears and anxiety.
Fear plays a very important part of our daily lives and in human society as a whole. Fear comes in many shapes and forms, but could be described as an unpleasant feeling of perceived risk or danger, real or not. That make us alert to the functions and ready for action while waiting for specific problems. We are afraid if we do not have the capacity to cope with something. This fear may be based on reality, as when the fear of being hit by a car while trying to cross a busy road. Or the fear may be irrational, when we fear a small harmless spider. Many of our fears are a mixture of fact and misinterpretation of our ability to cope. When there is a high degree of misinterpretation of what is most likely that this is a phobia, rather than a fear.
Phobias involve the experience of fear is excessive and unreasonable. Mental disorder is more common and research shows that over 12 percent of America's population will develop a phobia. Phobias are among several anxiety disorders, which also include panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. CUED Phobias are when a person approaches a particular situation or object, or even anticipates the approach. The individual experiences a phobia means fear of that experience as a result of this situation is unreasonable and excessive.
Phobias come in many different forms, some examples of phobias are: arachnophobia, fear of spiders, acrophobia, fear of heights. aviophobia, fear of flying, felinophobia; fear of cats, apiphobia; fear of bees, and the list goes on. Some phobias are well recognized, others are unknown.
But one type of phobia can be seriously disabling to a person who is called agoraphobia. The term agoraphobia is translated from Greek as "fear of the market." Its literal definition suggests a fear of "open spaces" but the term agoraphobia has been widely misunderstood and misleading. Agoraphobics are not necessarily afraid of open spaces. On the contrary, they are afraid of having panic feelings, where they can cause feelings of fear. For many, they occur at home, in houses of worship, or in crowded supermarkets, places that are not "open."
Agoraphobia is a condition that develops when a person begins to avoid spaces or situations associated with anxiety. Typical "phobic situations" might include driving, shopping, places, travel, stand in line, being alone, meetings and social gatherings. Agoraphobia arises from an internal anxiety condition that has become so intense that the suffering individual going anywhere or doing anything fears when these feelings of panic have occurred before. Once the panic attacks have started, these episodes of stress in the course, though more obvious pressures have diminished. It sets up a "feedback condition that usually leads to more panic attacks.
Typically, people with agoraphobia are limited to their "comfort zone" which may only include your home or neighborhood. Any movement beyond the edges of this zone creates an increase in anxiety. Sometimes a person with agoraphobia is unable to leave home alone, but can travel if accompanied by a relative or friend. Even when limited to "safe" situations, most people with agoraphobia continue to have panic attacks at least twice a month. Investigators are still trying to understand what causes someone to have agoraphobia. As with most mental illnesses, agoraphobia is probably caused by a complex mixture of biology and genetics, life experiences, and traits of temperament. But researchers know that several risk factors involved that make a person more likely to get agoraphobia. These factors include:
Having panic disorder
Experiencing stressful life events
Having a tendency to be nervous or anxious
Alcohol and substance use disorders
Agoraphobia usually begins during late adolescence or early adulthood, but younger children and older adults may also develop. Research also shows that more women are diagnosed with agoraphobia than men. Like many other mental disorders, agoraphobia treatment typically includes a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Treatments for depression and anxiety medications are commonly used to treat symptoms of panic and agoraphobia. Among antidepressants, selective inhibitors of serotonin reuptake (SSRIs), fluoxetine (Prozac, Prozac Weekly), paroxetine (Paxil, Paxil CR) and sertraline (Zoloft) are approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of panic disorder and agoraphobia may also help. Other types of antidepressants, including tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) are also sometimes used to treat agoraphobia. ATC and MAOI, but tend to have more side effects and side effects more serious than SSRIs. Anti anxiety, called benzodiazepines, can also help control symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks, and are often used in treating agoraphobia. These may include alprazolam ( Xanax), clonazepam (Klonopin), to name a few. Treatment of agoraphobia is often successful, and can overcome agoraphobia and learn to keep it under control.
A phobia can make life miserable, cause embarrassment and undermine self confidence and self esteem. However, you do not have to learn to live with a phobia, they are positive and proactive manner to help you conquer the market and out of fear.