Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) | Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA
Agoraphobia Guide: symptoms, definition, test, causes, facts, Has your fear had a significant negative impact on your life (relationships, work, social, or emotional life.)? Post-traumatic stress disorder can trigger agoraphobic symptoms, bowel disease, Parkinson's disease, and dementia among others. The Relationship Between PTSD and Other Anxiety Disorders disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder (with or without agoraphobia). The term “Agoraphobia” comes from the Greek, literally meaning “fear of the . (3 ) “Relationship between balance system function and agoraphobic avoidance.
Agoraphobia begins with a situation where a person either has a Panic Attack or thinks they may have one. Having a panic attack is a horrible ordeal, and people commonly think they are having a heart attack or a similar medical condition.
Agoraphobia - Anxiety, Panic & Health
It is both physically and emotionally draining. In their imagination, they see themselves having an attack in similar situations, and naturally want to avoid those situations. If after the first Panic Attack there is no diagnosis or treatment and no measures undertaken to prevent another one, it is highly likely that an individual will start avoiding other situations, as well. For example, if someone has a Panic Attack while crossing a bridge, they might come to avoid heavy traffic or even riding in cars, too.
Agoraphobia: An Evolving Understanding of Definitions and Treatment
Avoidance of situations with Panic Attack potential has a way of feeding on itself. First there is one setting to be avoided, then another related one. Some find that they are eventually confined to their homes, unable to function at all.
This is what happened in my case. The onset of Agoraphobia, or even whether you develop it at all, is different for every individual. Some people can develop Agoraphobia without ever having a Panic Attacks. Some have many continuing Panic Attacks and still do not develop it. Everybody has different clusters of situations they avoid. A person may have one travel-related avoidance, say riding in a car, but be able to ride on trains and airplanes without any trouble.
At the same time, this person might also avoid crowds and speaking on the phone. The same holds true for treatment. What are the treatments available for Agoraphobia? There is a silver lining in the cloud! Agoraphobia has one of the highest treatment success rates of any mental illness. And not all treatment solutions require medications. Most of them use some variation of what is called controlled exposure, desensitization, or gradual exposure therapy. Controlled exposure gradually puts the person into the situation that might precipitate a Panic Attack, desensitizing them to it.
Behavioral Therapy seeks to modify and gain control over unwanted behavior through controlled exposure. But if your anxiety and fear are only triggered by the traumatic event or traumatic reminders, this does not meet the criteria of agoraphobia. Depression can make it difficult to leave home because of low energy or the anxiety that can be part of depression.
But if your fear of leaving home is not related to difficulty escaping or getting help, then this does not meet the criteria of agoraphobia.
Tests Medical Tests Your health care provider can determine if your agoraphobia is caused by an underlying medical condition, such as heart disease or thyroid problems. This may require blood tests and an electrocardiogram ECG. A complete assessment should also include questions about your caffeine and alcohol consumption, and any substance use, which can contribute to an anxiety disorder.
Standardized Screening Tests for Agoraphobia There is no screening test for agoraphobia. But for monitoring agoraphobia symptoms as part of treatment, the Panic and Agoraphobia Scale PAS has been proven effective. Causes of Agoraphobia Before looking at the treatment of agoraphobia, it helps to understand the causes because they can help guide the treatment.
Agoraphobia can often occur in combination with panic disorderand both disorders share several similarities. Avoidance Behavior If you suffer from agoraphobia you probably tend to avoid anxiety-provoking situations. But avoiding them gives them power. This sets up an avoidance-anxiety cycle.
The negative thinking behind avoidance behavior is taking an all-or-nothing approach to your strengths.
Maybe you had a bad experience with one agoraphobic situation, such as being in a crowd or being in an enclosed space. When you combine that with the fact that being anxious makes your less effective in dealing with difficult situations, and your agoraphobia can spiral out of control. It helps you see alternative solutions besides just avoidance, and helps you rebuild your confidence.
Substance Use Tobacco, caffeine, drugsand alcohol can all increase anxiety and the risk of developing agoraphobia. Billionaire, Howard Hughes, suffered from agoraphobia that many people believe was caused or made worse by his prescription pill abuse.
Medical Causes A number of medical conditions can cause anxiety symptoms. These include an overactive thyroid, hypoglycemia, mitral valve prolapse, anemia, asthma, COPD, inflammatory bowel disease, Parkinson's disease, and dementia among others. Your physician may perform certain tests to rule out these conditions. But it is important to remember that anxiety is more often due to poor coping skills or substance abuse than any medical condition.
- The Connection Between Agoraphobia and Addiction
Treatment of Agoraphobia The three main treatments for agoraphobia are cognitive behavioral therapystress management-meditationand anti-anxiety medications. These can all cause or worsen anxiety symptoms. Review your over-the-counter medications such as diet pills and cold medications that can contain stimulants, which may trigger anxiety.
Learn relaxation and stress-management techniques and make them part of your life. Develop healthy coping skills. Rule out any medical causes for your symptoms.