Reviewed by Whitney White, MS CMHC, NCC., LPC
Life is so much tougher when you’re having problems with social phobias. Lots of people deal with social phobias, but some have worse issues than others. You might even have panic attacks when you go out in public, and this could cause you to want to retreat back home. Many people with such severe social phobias will avoid situations where they will be around a lot of people. It can even make doing many things in your life impractical because of how problematic the panic attacks can be.
Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia
If your panic attacks in social situations keep you from wanting to venture into those situations, It’s possible that you might have a panic disorder with agoraphobia. Agoraphobia is a specific type of anxiety disorder that involves people fearing certain places or people that will cause you to feel panicked. Some people who are agoraphobic will have specific places that they will avoid at all costs. For example, some agoraphobic individuals will avoid large crowds because those are what cause them to have panic attacks. Others might have panic attacks when they’re around specific people such as members of the opposite sex. It can be very troubling to have problems like this, and it isn’t always easy to learn how to cope.
Keep reading to get important advice about getting through life when you have panic disorder with agoraphobia.
If you’re able to utilize the advice below, then it should be possible to get through many life situations more easily. It isn’t going to be simple to navigate life when you have agoraphobia, but you can get better at managing your condition. There are various methods at your disposal that can help and you can also choose to seek treatment from a doctor. Once you’ve figured out the best steps to take, it’ll be that much simpler to get through your life.
Is Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia a Mental Illness?
Yes, agoraphobia is considered to be a mental illness, and it is specifically categorized as an anxiety disorder. When you look at the agoraphobia definition, you’ll see that this issue is characterized as an extreme or irrational fear of crowded places, places that aren’t easy to escape from, or other situations that make a person feel nervous. This mental health issue is deeply tied to nervousness and not wanting to feel embarrassed in various situations. People who have social phobias will sometimes become agoraphobic overtime. It’s a very tough type of mental health condition to deal with, and it can certainly make many life goals harder to pursue.
The fact that this is such a big problem for people makes it tough for them to figure out how to cope. Going out into the world will often cause an agoraphobic individual to have a panic attack. What triggers agoraphobia can differ from person to person, but it’s definitely not easy to deal with no matter what. However, you do have ways to battle agoraphobia that can make you more comfortable in various situations. If you learn the best ways to go about your life, then you can limit the impact that this condition has on you.
Turn to Your Support System for Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia
Having a support system in place helps you out immensely when you have agoraphobia. People who experience this anxiety condition will need to have people who understand what they’re going through. Your support system should include loving and caring family members and friends that you trust. These people will be the ones that you can turn to when you’re feeling down and when you need to vent. It’d be even better if your support system took the time to learn about your condition so that they can understand when you feel like you aren’t able to do certain things.
Some people just use their support system as a way to feel better after going through a tough day. However, your support system can also help you out in other ways. How does agoraphobia start to get better when you use your support system? Well, you might feel like you can do more if you have certain trusted friends with you. Some people who are agoraphobic will be able to go out in public easier when they have friends with them.
If you have a friend or family member that can accompany you when you need to run certain errands, then that might be a good way to cope with your condition. You might feel less anxious when you have your supportive friend or family member by your side. It isn’t possible to take people with you to do everything that you need to do in life, but this can be good when you just need a bit of support. Don’t hesitate to ask friends if they can assist you when they’re available since it could make a big difference.
Try Coping Mechanisms for Panic Disorders with Agoraphobia
There will likely be times where you will have to brave crowds in life to get certain things done. Some agoraphobic people are afraid of things such as going to the doctor’s office, too. You can make social situations like this more bearable when you understand how to utilize coping mechanisms. Coping mechanisms are methods for you to calm yourself down when you start to panic. There are many simple ones that you can learn such as deep breathing exercises and meditative techniques.
It might also be good to try some other coping mechanisms such as using something to distract yourself. If you’re afraid of sitting in a waiting room with other people, then you could distract yourself by doing something else. Sometimes just reading a magazine is enough to make yourself feel a lot better about things. You could also consider bringing your headphones with you so that you can listen to soothing music. It’s a good idea to try things like this that can make you feel safe when you’re out in public places.
Stop Comparing Yourself to Other People to Stop Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia
One big problem that brings agoraphobic people down is that they feel the urge to compare themselves to others. You might be thinking, “why does this have to be so hard for me when others can do it without having any problems?” It’s normal to get frustrated at the situation, but you shouldn’t compare yourself to others. Everyone is unique and each person has things that they’re good at as well as things that they struggle with. Social situations just happen to be very tough for you because of your condition.
If you don’t do a good job because of your agoraphobia, then you can’t just beat yourself up about it. It’s counterproductive to worry about the things that you weren’t able to do in the past. You have to learn to forgive yourself and be a bit more lenient with things. Over time, you might get better about navigating life without having so many issues pop up. Just realize that panic attacks can be scary and that it’s normal to feel vulnerable sometimes because of your condition.
Try to Exercise to Curve Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia
Just trying to get regular exercise can actually help you out a ton when you’re going through mental health struggles. It’s normal to get depressed when you’re dealing with a serious panic attack problem. Getting some exercise can act as a natural antidepressant so that you can enjoy a mood boost. If you stick to an exercise routine, then you’ll even be able to boost your self-confidence over time. This could be a perfect way to make yourself feel more confident while also improving your general health.
Of course, it’s best to talk to your doctor about any exercise routines that you are going to start. You want to ensure that certain types of exercise are safe for you to start. Sometimes people will need to avoid certain types of physical activity when they are on specific medications or if they have physical health problems. Once you’ve been giving the all-clear, you’ll be able to start exercising regularly.
Consider Getting a Pet
Pets are fantastic when it comes to helping you feel better about life. This isn’t necessarily going to solve your problems with social phobias, but it will make you feel more comfortable at home. You should think about getting a cat or a dog so that you can enjoy being a pet owner. Granted, being a pet owner can be a lot of work, but the joy that you get from taking care of a pet is significant. If you’ve been dealing with some depression due to your agoraphobia, then this is a solid move to make that will improve your life.
Traditional Treatments for Panic Disorders with Agoraphobia
Traditional treatments are available for agoraphobia and panic attacks, too. You could take panic disorder test to see how high your anxiety is. Then you can go to your doctor to get diagnosed properly so that you can move forward with treatment options. Anti-anxiety medications can help and so can special medications that you can take when you feel a panic attack happening. You can work with your doctor to go through the best treatment options for your condition.
Therapy is also hugely beneficial for anyone who has agoraphobia. You can talk to a therapist often so that you can work through the things that are bothering you. Therapists are great at helping you to feel more at ease, and they can also work on developing coping mechanisms with you. Consider what you can do to treat your agoraphobia symptoms by reaching out to your doctor and a therapist soon. You can even get therapy from the comfort of home if you choose to pursue online therapy options.