Phobias are of specific types and every phobia is dangerous for mankind. However, they are treatable and the journey of living with them is not forgettable. Agoraphobia is one of those phobias that make the person shut inside their homes due to severe anxiety in the outer spaces. Affected people experience severe panic attacks in the fear of going out of their homes. For people who don’t know about this, it’s not an act of being afraid to step out of the home. For such people, they are affected by a dangerous phobia, agoraphobia. A complete diagnosis of agoraphobia should be done to confirm and treat the mental illness.
Some factors are contributing to phobia such as environmental, genetic, or other health conditions.
How To Tell If You Have Agoraphobia
The affected person might not know this is a mental illness and needs to be treated. But the discomfort and unease with the social environment can be an indication that something is wrong. Here are some symptoms which are tellers of agoraphobia.
The patient will fear of :
- Step out of home
- Being in crowds and ques like marketplace
- Parks, bridges, open spaces, and malls
- In public transportation like bus, plane, train, and elevator
At these places, the patient will not be escaped from their anxiety symptoms and will have to face embarrassing moments. This is why the person finds it better to be at home.
Also read: anxiety vs feeling anxious
More points to consider:
- Anxiety will come out by the exposure of the actual trigger which is the outer place
- Resulting anxiety or fear will be irrelevant of the actual danger
- More often you will need a companion to go with you to endure the situation
- You will experience distress in social exposures, in working areas in your life due to excessive phobia of the outer space
- Usually, these signs last longer
Panic Attacks And Agoraphobia
Phobia when associated with panic attacks can be very dangerous. Panic attacks are threatening situations when the patient loses control and feels like they are dying or having a heart attack or something, they are trapped and can’t escape. It’s also a kind of anxiety attack which when reaches its peak level, triggers the physical response. Once having a panic attack makes the person escape from such a situation again in the future.
Symptoms of panic attacks:-
- Heart palpitations
- A feeling of choking or breathlessness
- Chest pain
- Excessive sweating
- Chills and flushes
- Gastric issues such as diarrhea
- Loss of control
- Feeling like dying and fear of dying
So, how would someone diagnose the condition? This can be done by symptoms and physical examinations.
Diagnosis Of Agoraphobia
Here are the ways of proper diagnosis of agoraphobia :
- Symptoms relating agoraphobia
- A deep interview with the doctor regarding your mental condition.
- Physical examination
- Diagnosis is described under the criteria given under the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, published by the American psychiatric association.
Also read: how to cope up with relationship anxiety
So, who would initiate the diagnosis? You or maybe some of your loved ones. It is essential to take professional help while dealing with phobias or any kind of mental condition.
We will study it step by step. In the first step, the patient needs to have a conversation with the doctor or psychologist.
Seek professional help
For the patient itself, it is impossible to go out for a session with the doctor. Someone has to accompany them while visiting a doctor. In case you are unable to go to the doctor, you can consult with them over a phone call.
You can freely describe your symptoms, feelings, and problems like how often you feel anxiety, panic attacks, or any other symptoms in any situation. And from how long you have been experiencing this, etc.
In response, they will ask you certain questions to know your triggering places and situations such as :
- Do you feel stressed leaving home?
- Are there any particular places you have to avoid?
- How do you cope with the symptoms? Is there any strategy you follow to avoid anxiety?
- Are you relying on others to accompany you while leaving home?
It could be a little awkward or embarrassing to share your mental condition, feelings, and emotions with someone, but as soon as your therapist makes you comfortable with the conversation you will feel free.
Talking about how you feel honesty is important, other people don’t know your condition you know only. Try not to feel scared or worried during sessions. If you find a therapist who can have sessions at your place will be a good option. Otherwise, going to the clinic is the best option.
It is also included in the agoraphobia diagnostic tests. Sometimes any other medical condition might be the reason for such anxiety. This is why a physical test is necessary.
Usually, a blood test is taken to check whether any other conditions are bringing out the anxiety. For instance, hyperthyroidism may cause similar symptoms like panic attacks sometimes.
Other physical exams also may be done to check it more accurately.
Assured diagnosis of agoraphobia
Your diagnosis for agoraphobia will be confirmed by the given points:
- You have the anxiety of outer places where you feel not escaped of your anxiety and panic attacks such as crowded places, marketplace or in public transportation.
- You always try to avoid the above situations and need a companion to endure situations.
- You don’t have any underlying medical condition that is causing the symptoms.
You can further consult with your doctor about the treatment or diagnosis.
So, now you know what agoraphobia is and how to tell if you have agoraphobia. Medical help is required as we have learned so far. You need to be positive and honest while seeking treatment. Diagnosis will include certain steps such as sessions, physical tests, and reassurance. Your psychologist may advise you to follow an agoraphobic lifestyle to escape from panic attacks and severe anxiety in the future.