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Agoraphobia Treatment: How to Overcome It

Untreated agoraphobia can prevent you from enjoying a productive and fulfilling life. But when you get effective agoraphobia treatment from a reputable provider, you can achieve a more hopeful future.

What Is Agoraphobia?

Agoraphobia is a type of anxiety disorder. As established in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), a person may be diagnosed with agoraphobia if they experience marked fear or worry in two or more of the following locations:

  • On buses, trains, or other forms of public transportation
  • In parking lots, on bridges, or in other open spaces
  • In stores, theaters, or other enclosed spaces
  • In a crowd of people or standing in a line
  • Outside of their home by themselves

The fear that is felt by people who have agoraphobia is disproportionate to any legitimate threat, and can impair their ability to function at work, in school, or in other important areas of life. This fear may be associated with the belief that the individual will be unable to escape, or that help may not be able to get to them if they have a panic attack or other problem.

Signs & Symptoms of Agoraphobia

The symptoms of agoraphobia are related to a person’s physical surroundings. In certain circumstances, a person may experience the following signs and symptoms of agoraphobia:

  • Experiencing extreme distress when in (or when thinking about being in) certain locations or situations.
  • Developing panic-like symptoms (which may include dizziness, racing heart rate, excessive perspiration, and shortness of breath) when in certain locations or situations.
  • Changing their behavior to avoid the locations or situations that can trigger the symptoms of agoraphobia.
  • Shopping online and using food delivery services to eliminate the need to enter stores.
  • Limiting their travel so they don’t have to get on a plane or use public transportation.
  • Turning down invitations to parties or other social gatherings so they won’t be in an uncomfortably crowded environment.
  • Finding a job that allows them to work from home.

Agoraphobia Test

To be certain that you have agoraphobia, you need to be assessed and diagnosed by a qualified professional. This brief agoraphobia test can help you determine if you should make an appointment for an assessment.

To complete this agoraphobia test, answer the following eight questions:

  1. When you are in certain locations or situations, do you feel like you can’t breathe, that you might pass out, or that you may be about to have a heart attack?
  2. Are you afraid that if you put yourself in certain situations, feelings of anxiety or panic will cause you to embarrass yourself?
  3. Have you worried that, if you have a negative reaction in a crowded or wide open space, first responders or other sources of help won’t be able to get to you in time?
  4. Do you worry you might lose control if you are forced to be in a certain location or situation?
  5. Do you habitually avoid crowded or wide-open spaces because of how they make you feel?
  6. Have you begun to withdraw from family and friends or isolate yourself because of the anxiety or panic you feel when you are in a crowded or public environment?
  7. Have your symptoms had a negative impact on your performance in school, your career development, or your relationships with other people?
  8. Do you think you may have agoraphobia, or has someone close to you ever suggested that you may be struggling with this disorder?

Again, please note that this test is for general informational purposes only. It is not meant to replace a professional assessment or serve as a diagnostic tool. 

If you answered “yes” to any of the agoraphobia test questions above, you should consult with your family doctor or contact a reputable treatment center to schedule an assessment. 

Agoraphobia Treatment Options

There is no single form of agoraphobia treatment that is ideal for everyone. What’s most important is finding a provider who offers the services that align with your needs and expectations.

Determining the right type and level of care can involve answering questions such as the following:

  • What is the nature and severity of your agoraphobia symptoms?
  • How have these symptoms disrupted your ability to function?
  • Do you have a history of untreated trauma, mental illness, or substance abuse?
  • Are you currently struggling with any co-occurring mental or behavioral health disorders?
  • What are your immediate and long-term goals for treatment?

Once your treatment team has this information, they can begin to develop a personalized plan that will address the full scope of your needs. This plan may include a recommendation for one or more of the following programs:

  • Inpatient treatment
  • Partial hospitalization program (PHP)
  • Intensive outpatient program (IOP)

Within these programs, treatment for agoraphobia may involve a combination of medication and therapy.

Prescription medications such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds can help alleviate some agoraphobia symptoms. Therapy can teach you how to manage symptoms that are not affected by the medication. During therapy sessions, you can also begin to develop the skills and strategies that will help you overcome your fears, visit locations you have previously avoided, and engage in stressful situations without experiencing overwhelming distress.

Begin Treatment for Agoraphobia in Atlanta, GA

Peachtree Wellness Solutions offers comprehensive, personalized care for adults whose lives have been disrupted by the symptoms of agoraphobia and other anxiety disorders. At our agoraphobia treatment center in the Atlanta, Georgia, area, you can receive customized services from a team of experienced and dedicated professionals. With our help, you can begin to live a more satisfying life. When you’re ready to begin your journey toward improved health, the Peachtree Wellness Solutions team is here for you. Visit our admissions page or call us today to learn more.