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Behavioral Therapy & Agoraphobia

Aug 17, 2007
Agoraphobia is a most common syndrome under Panic disorder. This term 'agoraphobia' is derived from Greek, 'agora' means the market place and 'phobia' means fear of specify event.

Generally, most people having perception that agoraphobia sufferer feel vulnerable and frighten in open or public place. For example in a queue, in shopping complex, garden and etc. Sufferer finds no obvious exit; develop dizziness and suffocating during this event.

However, agoraphobia is not, as many people believe, just as about open spaces. It is accurate for any place or situation where people feel unsafe, trapped and having the urge to escape. Therefore, people suffer under this event are more comfortable to stay at home and avoid themselves from the specific fearful place.

Sufferer feels insecure leaving their comfort zone, their home mostly, sometime, their room. In result, they seldom venture far from home after they struck by agoraphobia. They tend to rely on other people such as family members and friends for daily living.

Stay in comfort zone is not a solution for agoraphobia. Sufferer is avoiding him/herself to a particular dangerous zone, this imply they set up fences in limiting their free moving spaces. Restriction will not worsen the case at immediately but in next to no time.

In most cases, severe sufferers are heavily dependent on their family members or friends to perform their daily activities, this in time can put a strain on the care-givers whose revolve around for helping.

In fact, researchers find out agoraphobia is getting more common and it has infected to 1% of world population. Moreover, there is 1 of 8 people having less severe form. Agoraphobia has it classic onset in early adult life which peak from 18 to 30. Studies proved that people at this age are facing more stressful and depressive event than other ages.

Although agoraphobia is already well-known early decades, however, it causes remain mysterious but specialists believed it is more true to say it is caused by number of causes rather than one.

o Born with agoraphobia - most people are naturally born with agoraphobia in the sense that their body produces more adrenalin than other people.

o Living environment - growing up with people who show avoidance traits in their behaviour can lead to avoidance behavior developing in the future.

o Aftermath effect - people seems 'out of the blue' after first panic attack, they afraid to have another attack, so they end up in avoiding themselves from the last attacked location or situation.

o Stressful, frightening and agonizing event - a stressful experience, frightening and agonizing memory can trigger people's emotional reaction and turn down to agoraphobia.

In dealing with agoraphobia, traditionally there are ways but work ineffective. Psychoanalytic and drug treatment was attempted but the result sometimes lead to major problem.

Up until now, there are two recognized therapies in helping sufferer to get rid of agoraphobia.

The first one is behavioral therapy where sufferer is taught to face their phobic situation. They have to imagine their fear situation and furthermore expose themselves in the real situation where the agoraphobia taken place. This exposure normally takes 2 -3 hours at the phobic place.

Second method is cognitive therapy; it is a kind of psychotherapy which is also useful to treat anxiety, depression and other forms of mental disorder. It involves recognizing unhelpful or destructive patterns of thinking and reacting, then modifying these with more realistic or helpful ones.

Both methods are powerful, but cognitive therapy adds much more benefit that behavioral therapy. By the way, the latter one is good enough to achieve its goal. It gave 70% success to remove phobia for people who completed the program. Cognitive therapy serves as preparation in case behavioral therapy is failed.

Agoraphobia could be easily shaken off when sufferers refer to professional therapist. But unfortunately, numbers of them are insufficient in compare with phobic population. So, sufferers would have to learn few of the self-help skills which are emphasis on exposure and how it is applied.

o Exposure must be long enough for feeling of fear start to fade away. This may usually takes several hours. Avoid short period of exposure and halfway escape, it could lead major problem.

o After first exposure, following exposure should be regular in order to get rid of the phobia completely.

o Involved family members or friends as co-therapist. They should be away after sufferer settle down.

o Buy some self-help literature for better mind control and better understand about psychological and physiological reaction.

o Avoid the use of alcohol at all costs.

o Avoid medication. Medication works as an emotional suppressor which mean only for short term goal instead of long term goal.

More people are caught in emotional event nowadays, it is wise however to get ourselves fully equipped. Don't limit our abilities barely from the things that you see and hear.

The Mind Is The Limit
About the Author
Keng Yong, Ong & Kam Meng, Mok are the co-authors of the free ebook "Panic No More" which is available for download at their blog.
Visit his blog about personal development and the power of mind.
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