Saturday, November 26, 2011

Agoraphobia - A (Very) Short Overview

Agoraphobia is an unmotivated fear regarding open spaces such as markets, bridges, streets and even big tunnels. It also may include a fear of being in a crowd, a gathering and even being inside a bus and other situations that involve public transport. According to DSM IV TR (p.429)agoraphobia is anxiety about, or avoidance of, places or situations from which escape might be difficult (or embarrassing) or in which help may not be available in the event of having a panic attack or panic-like symptoms. 

The person suffering from agoraphobia experiences a fear so extreme they cannot go in public places, remaining isolated in their own home. In rare cases, the person will also experience high anxiety when left alone at home if they are used with somebody permanently with them. Panic attacks are the most common symptoms and the person will have them whenever they feel insecure.  Other symptoms are high blood pressure, sweating, nausea, chocking, chest pains, shortness of breath, fear of being out of control, fear of dying, trembling, etc.
Agoraphobia usually occurs after 20+ years and it seems to affect more women than men.

-SSRIs and SNRIs
-cognitive behavioral therapy (10-20 visits):   
  • Learning to gain control over the feelings
  • Recognizing and replace panic-causing thoughts
  • Stress management
  • Relaxation techniques

-gradual exposure
  • Desensitization
  • Exposure therapy

Also, remember, if you suffer from panic disorder, an early treatment will prevent agoraphobia. 

Further reading and sources:  
Anxiety disorders, Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-IV-TR (4th ed.,) p. 429


  1. It's husband and I were discussing this the other day! We were thinking for those who are so agoraphobic that they can't go outside, the invention of the internet is a miracle! They can pretty much get/order what they need AND have social interaction. Can you imagine how ....ISOLATED someone felt years ago? This is a devastating disease, but I can't imagine how much worse it was before computers.

  2. I have heard and read about them but forgot the name of that disease. Thanks for informing. In my school days (7 years before) there was a student (my classfellow) used to talk to himself. He talks and can see that imagination. Can you tell me what disease is that.

    1. Possible hallucinatory schizophrenia?
      If he talks to himself, that's not exactly a problem; it's a problem if he's talking to other people who only he can see, and he actually believes that they are there.
      I like talking to myself, but not because I think imaginary people will respond or anything; just because I've come to the conclusion that talking to myself is my best chance at having an intelligent conversation.
      I like talking, I just don't like being answered, so only talking to myself is best.
      Internet is good for that; it's *almost* like talking to other people, but not really. More like talking-to-myself-in-front-of-other-people.
      I guess that makes me an introverted narcissist, a rare combination of personality types; I'm so fucking special, I love me...but don't anyone else dare try loving me! It's all for me, no room for you!

    2. I liked the last part of your comment. :)

      I also talk to myself, I make sarcastic remarks, it's quite fun I guess.

    3. LOL, I also yell at the stupid people on tv.
      "Oh you can't possibly really believe that, you monstrous fucking hypocrite!",
      "Where's the remote, I have to turn the fucking channel now, I can't endure your grievous insults to my intellect any longer, you creepy old cryptkeeper-motherfucker!",
      "Nancy Grace, you are the ugliest and most sickeningly self-centered excuse for a woman who ever lived! Stop talking in that contrived, phony voice, and what's with the soap-opera lighting?!", etc.

      I actually think it can be healthy to privately vent our annoying tendencies which shouldn't be inflicted on other people, as long as it doesn't become such a habit that we can't turn it off when we're around other people...just make sure some sneaky bastard doesn't leave a webcam turned on when you're alone, lol. Sometimes I think of how many security cameras have caught me doing shit like muttering to myself in public, but then I just go (aloud, naturally) "Oh fuck that spy camera, I'm sure it sees more fucked-up things on most days than me standing here muttering to myself."
      And so on and so forth.
      I've always lived alone and I really don't think I ever could have enjoyed living with another person, no matter how "in love" with them I was; I just enjoy indulging my own crazy annoying habits way too much to ever curb them for the benefit of another person. Super-dorky, but it's true.
      But,most people refuse to curb their annoying habits, yet they still expect another person to want to live with them, and I just don't get that at all. If someone loves someone enough to want to live with them, they should, I thought, both want to make it a pleasant experience for both parties; but most people who live together seem to actually enjoy irritating the piss out of eachother. Yuck, the rest of the human race can have all that BS for themselves, and I will keep my own crazy annoying habits to myself, thank-you-very-much.

      And I was wrong in my last post when I said I don't like being answered. I actually kind of like it when you answer me.

    4. I don't watch TV, I feel stupid afterwards and there's absolutely nothing good to watch. What I hate the most is reality shows, the epitome of stupidity.

      I bet security cameras caught more weird things than a person muttering to themselves. That's quite funny actually.

      I've lived with a couple of people, some friends, some boyfriends and I've met some weird characters. However, I do tend to isolate myself in my room and just indulge in my habits too and I also need time to be alone. I can't understand those who always need to go out and socialize, I always need some alone time after too much socializing, it often makes me feel even more hopeless about people around me and it's also quite tiring. I've only had to deal with annoying habits from a woman I've lived with, a hellish experience actually. Men are actually more understanding when it comes to living together and cleaner too. Anyway, I've been ranting too much.

      I'm also looking forward to receiving your comments. :)

    5. Kew! Because I'm also ranting too much.

  3. oh my why sis..everything you have said even on your previous post points back to me oh no..I experience vomiting and dizziness when I am inside a public transportation vehicle..and when I am going even in a mall..I don't know huh maybe I am still in the process of healing my depression..thank you again for this post sis;)

  4. hi andreea, my God this is such a scary sickness, lucky thing, there is the possibility of an early cure.
    The symptoms are so major and scary, never knew open spaces can really drive people crazy..i fear heights, not so bad tho.
    on my 100 post, thanks for coming over with sweet comments for me. yes, i must upkeep to the name varieties and i like to post more than just recipes, especially for my non foodie visitors, who dont cook :)

  5. Wow. This is an eye-opener because I may know someone suffering from this.

  6. I LOVE open spaces, but hate small and closed-ones (?)

  7. I like any space, big or small, as long as there are no goddamned other people in it. I can't leave the house if I think I will encounter any other people out there. I like the internet because it gives the illusion of interaction while maintaining the barrier of personal distance. People make me vomit.

    1. I know what you mean, I don't particularly like to see people manifesting in public. Most of them seem stupid and that annoys me.

    2. LOL, I rarely make judgments about the intellect of people I see in public unless I actually see them do something dumb; apparently I prefer to save that for the people in my television, who are actively pandering and manipulative, and genuinely deserve my insults, even if they can't hear them.

      But it bugs me in a public space when people get close to me. Like I'll go to the grocery store at 3am, just to be sure it's not crowded. If I absolutely must get something from a public place when it's crowded, it's a miserable experience, and I don't even try to hide it. I wince and make faces, duck and dodge to avoid other people getting near me, sprint through the aisles to get what I need as quickly as possible so I can get the hell out of there.
      An empty grocery store doesn't bug me at all, but I must look like quite a lunatic when I try to pick up a few purchases during rush-hour, lol. I even deliberately cultivate an unkempt, disheveled appearance to keep people at bay. I even discuss it with myself, lol.
      "Eh, I should really put on a clean shirt and brush my hair before I go to the store... Why? So people won't be scared to approach me? Fuck that, there's no one out there I want to talk to, fuck a clean shirt."
      BUT, I'm usually extremely courteous and gentle if I have to have a direct conversation with anyone. It's very easy for me to be nice to people when the interaction is casual and brief and meaningless, lol.
      I have no problem getting myself all clean and shiny if I'm going to meet a client or expect to get close to people for any voluntary reason, that's just basic personal and professional courtesy; but if it's not directly involved with my income or a doctor's appointment or something like that, I tend to try to keep myself looking like a Yeti.
      I used to think I had asperger's (I may, I am pretty unnecessarily verbose, but it could be more asocial/secret schizoid, not that I necessarily give a shit, nor that anyone else should), and it turns out that MANY AS women use this technique of staying overweight/unkempt/unapproachable in order to spare themselves the unpleasantness of unnecessary interaction, especially advances from men, which they generally find especially confusing and distasteful.

      I find it terrifically funny when someone tries to do me a favor by giving me helpful suggestions about my appearance.
      "You could be so much prettier/Men would find you attractive if you would just lose a little weight/stand up straight/wear nicer clothes/style your hair/get your teeth whitened/SMILE MORE/blahblahblah fucking blah."
      When I was younger I would get all flustered and "explainy" and awkwardly try to tell them of my need to indulge my ugliness for personal reasons because people freak me the fuck out, but no one can understand that not everybody wants to be adored by everybody else all the time.
      So, now when people do this I just respond with a deliberately-blank stare for a couple of seconds and slowly say, "I know that. I'm ugly, not fucking stupid."
      Shuts them right up!

    3. I agree, TV people suck and I hate them with a passion.

      I hate crowds too, I also prefer to go to the store during weird ours or not go at all if it's crowded. I also hate people looking at me like it's their business to analyze or something. I just hate that and I want to punch them in the face. I know I have a bit of social anxiety if one could have...a bit of social anxiety; however, one thing is clear, most people annoy me and I don't want to be around them.

      I hate people who give tips on looks; I've always been told how I should dress/talk/walk and look to please men. Well, I'm not actually aiming for that and, unlike a lot of women, I don't live to do that. That's such a stupid assumption, I hate it when simple minded people assume that you are miserable just because you don't fit the description of normality they have in their stupid heads.