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Friend with agoraphobia, please help

B

Bb2019

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I have a friend who has severe agoraphobia. Shes barely left the house in the last year and has got to the point were she can't leave at all. Shes afraid to take medication but I convinced her to give it a try at a very low dose but she said she had a bad reaction to it. I can't help but feel the bad reaction she had was psychological as she had built up this fear around taking meds. Either way shes reluctant to take any meds now and the over the phone counselling hasn't helped either. She's crying so much she's hyperventilating and vomiting. I live far away from her and really just don't know what to do to help her. If she won't take medication and counselling isn't helping are there any other things I could suggest she try?
 
Jolly

Jolly

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Does your friend have family who could help even taking baby steps one foot out and back in. She would need to trust this person as well.
 
Fairy Lucretia

Fairy Lucretia

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hi ,how long has she been in counselling? does she have it by telephone?
the longer she leaves it to o out ,im afraid the worse it might become
i agree she needs someone she trusts to do tiny little trips with her ,just a few steps and maybe around the block at first ,i didn't go out for a very long time and whilst inside i also struggled with depression ,all sorts of feelings and emotions can arise when we don't socialise enough or get outdoors
just let her know you are there for her ,im sure she appreciates you and you sound like a really good friend x
 
B

Bb2019

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Thank you both for the replies. She's been in counselling on and off the last year or so and she has it through phone call. She has her husband who's basically with her 24/7 as shes too scared to be alone. I spoke to both of them about trying baby steps like youve both suggested but she's just not in a place right now to even try. I think her emotions are very heightened right now but that's probably to be expected being housebound. She used to be such an out going person who loved be outdoors and travelling but after developing panic attacks a few years ago she's just been in a major decline.
 
Jolly

Jolly

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That is so sad. May be one day she will be able to have face to face therapy one day when pandemic settles. It is always best with a therapist. Hopefully that will be soon. I wish her luck. Please keep us informed of her progress
 
fragrant_violet

fragrant_violet

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Get her to listen to audios and read books by Claire Weekes
 
Wishbone

Wishbone

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The baby steps thing as you call it is the way to go, but it's not just about a little bit of exposure and then moving onto the next, the gain has to be reinforced for her to want to do it and you need to start at the very beginning and the reinforcement needs to be successful.
So the first thing would be to find something she finds enjoyable, let's say for arguments sake it's an ice cream. I would ask her to simply look out of the window, and all being well, she has the ice cream. Then standing by the door, same thing; opening the door, same thing; stepping out the front door, same thing; etc etc. But it doesn't work if she's too overwhelmed and the behaviour is no longer being reinforced, so you have to go back a step or two or maybe find a stronger reward to reinforce it.
She would also need patience from whoever does it with her, huffing and puffing and getting annoyed that she's not taking an extra step would be damaging to the process and would counteract the reinforcement attempts.
 
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