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Is this right??

M

Mad Hatter

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I am of the belief that agoraphobia is not the fear of open spaces as it is made out to be but, the actual fear of fear itself. For example I spent a couple of years in the house because I was scared not of open spaces but having a panic attack when I was out. It's open to debate.
 
daffy

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Hi mad hatter

Agorophobia is an umberella word which a lot of people dont understand. People do wrongly assume you are scared of going out of the house, tho in some cases that is so.

I could go out to very quiet places i.e for a walk on a field, tho if i saw someone coming toward me i would turn in the opposite direction . But its taken a lot of CBT to get me into a supermarket and i still cannot go into the city centre unless i am accompanied.

Like mental illness there are lots of different levels, from being housebound to just avoiding crowds
 
Fedup

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Agoraphobia.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia




Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder which primarily consists of the fear of certain settings that may present unexpected challenges or demands. These could include parking lots, shopping malls or restaurants. The social consequences of having a panic attack or losing control in public often becomes an additional source of fear in its own right. As a result, severe sufferers of agoraphobia may become confined to their homes, experiencing difficulty traveling from this "safe place.


Definition


The word "agoraphobia" is an English adoption of the Greek words agora (αγορά) and phobos (φόβος), literally translated as "a fear of the marketplace." This translation is the reason for the common misconception that agoraphobia is a fear of open spaces, and is not clinically accurate.
Agoraphobia describes a condition where the sufferer becomes uneasy in environments that are unfamiliar or where he/she perceives that he or she has little control. Triggers may include crowds, wide open spaces or traveling alone even for short distances. The anxiety is often compounded by a fear of social embarrassment in case of panic attacks or appearing distraught in public.[1]
People with agoraphobia may experience panic attacks in situations where they feel trapped, insecure, out of control, or too far from their personal comfort zone. In severe cases, an agoraphobic may be confined to his home. [2] Some people with agoraphobia are comfortable seeing visitors, but only in a defined space they feel in control of. Such people may live for years without leaving their homes, while happily seeing visitors and working, as long as they can stay within their safety zones. The safety zones can vary, from not being able to leave home, or not being able to make eye contact. If the person leaves his 'safety zone,' he can have an anxiety attack.

Prevalence


The one-year prevalence of agoraphobia is about 5 percent. [3] About one third of people with Panic Disorder progress to develop Agoraphobia. [4] Agoraphobia occurs about twice as commonly among women as it does in men (Magee et al., 1996[5]).

Causes and contributing factors


Research has uncovered a linkage between agoraphobia and difficulties with spatial orientation.[6] [7]Normal individuals are able to maintain balance by combining information from their vestibular system, their visual system and their proprioceptive sense. A disproportionate number of agoraphobics have weak vestibular function and consequently rely more on visual or tactile signals. They may become disoriented when visual cues are sparse as in wide open spaces or overwhelming as in crowds. Likewise, they may be confused by sloping or irregular surfaces.[8] Compared to controls, in virtual reality studies, agoraphobics on average show impaired processing of changing audiovisual data. [9]

Diagnosis


Most people who present to mental health specialists develop agoraphobia after the onset of panic disorder (American Psychiatric Association, 1998). Agoraphobia is best understood as an adverse behavioral outcome of repeated panic attacks and the subsequent worry, preoccupation, and avoidance.[10] Thus, the formal diagnosis of panic disorder with agoraphobia was established. However, for those people in communities or clinical settings who do not meet full criteria for panic disorder, the formal diagnosis of Agoraphobia Without History of Panic Disorder is used (DSM-IV).

Association with panic attacks



Main article: Panic attack

Agoraphobia patients can experience sudden panic attacks when traveling to places where they fear help would be difficult to obtain. During a panic attack, adrenaline is released in large amounts for several minutes causing the classical "fight or flight" condition. The attack typically has an abrupt onset, building to maximum intensity within 10 to 15 minutes, and rarely lasts longer than 30 minutes. [11] These symptoms include palpitations, sweating, trembling, and shortness of breath. Many patients report a fear of dying, or losing control of emotions or behavior. [11]

Treatments


Agoraphobia can be successfully treated in many cases through a very gradual process of graduated exposure therapy combined with cognitive therapy and sometimes anti-anxiety or antidepressant medications. Treatment options for agoraphobia and panic disorder are similar.
Exposure treatment can provide lasting relief to the majority of patients with panic disorder and agoraphobia. Disappearance of residual and subclinical agoraphobic avoidance, and not simply of panic attacks, should be the aim of exposure therapy. [12]
Anti-anxiety medications include benzodiazepines such as alprazolam. Anti-depressant medications which are used to treat anxiety disorders are mainly in the SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) class such as sertraline, paroxetine and fluoxetine. Hypnosis is a possible alternative treatment.


I care for my partner who is agraphobic........... yes it's a condition that alot of people don't understand.
 
connect

connect

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For a shorter definition, as far as I understand, there are two broad "types" of agoraphobia. The by far most common type is labeled agoraphobia with panic disorder. Panic disorder is different from panic attacks in that the person is actually scared of the panic attacks themselves (many people experience panic attacks, but not all people read something "sinister" into them - in which case the panic attack doesn't affect them). Panic disorder often leads to agoraphobia because the person is convinced that something horrible will happen to them if they have a panic attack, and because they know that the panic attack is more likely to occur in certain situations, they will subsequently avoid those situations which could trigger a panic attack.

The rarer type of agoraphobia (labeled "agoraphobia without panic disorder") is where the person avoids certain places/situations, without panic being involved (as the term suggests :p).

That's sort of like an "in a nutshell" explanation...
 
Rorschach

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Interesting, I don't think I suffer, but I do share many of the anxieties of social discomfort. I manage to feign social skills adequately, but that doesn't mean there isn't stuff going on behind the curtains....
 
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midnight

midnight

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I think that's ok, my husband just loves being with other people all the time whereas I enjoy my own company at times and get marginally anxious when I feel I have to interact and be interesting and entertaining.

That idea of a long pause in conversation is a 'mare
 
sandybob

sandybob

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panic panic

I often avoid going out because i'm worried about having a panic attack (manys the time I have abandoned my shopping basket in sainsburys and made a hasty retreat to the safety of my house )

getting off the bus several stops too early is another panic avoidance strategy which doesn't work very well :D
 
M

musicmels

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i have done that too!!!!
nice to know im not alone, i avoid going out in fear of having panic attacks and its really hard as i am 21 and all my friends are out partying and so is my boyfriend and its hard to explain how you feel without feeling like your letting them down or being judged and: to keep justifying yourself causes more stress and more panic!! whats the best soloution???? :(
 
dunglen

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Fedup said:
About 60% of attacks are accompanied by hyperventilation and many panickers overbreathe even whilst relaxed.

The most important thing to understand about hyperventilation is that although it can feel as if you don't have enough oxygen, the opposite is true. It is a symptom of too much oxygen.

With hyperventilation, your body has too much oxygen. To use this oxygen (to extract it from your blood), your body needs a certain amount of Carbon Dioxide (CO2).

When you hyperventilate, you do not give your body long enough to retain CO2, and so your body cannot use the oxygen you have. This causes you to feel as if you are short of air, when actually you have too much. This is why the following techniques work to get rid of hyperventilation.

Some hyperventilation and panic attack symptoms are:
Light headiness
Giddiness
Dizziness
Shortness of breath
Heart palpitations
Numbness
Chest pains
Dry mouth
Clammy hands
Difficulty swallowing
Tremors
Sweating
Weakness
Fatigue
Getting Rid of Hyperventilation
Anybody who hyperventilates will find that symptoms of over-excitedness or panic will occur. So how can learn to breathe more evenly and naturally?

Hold your breath. Holding your breath for as long as you comfortably can will prevent the dissipation of carbon dioxide. If you hold your breath for a period of between 10 and 15 seconds and repeat this a few times that will be sufficient to calm hyperventilation quickly.
Breathe in and out of a paper bag. This will cause you to re-inhale the carbon dioxide that you exhaled. Naturally there are many times when this would be inappropriate and may appear a little strange. It really helps though.
Thirdly you can take vigorous exercise while breathing in and out through your nose. A brisk walk or jog whilst breathing through the nose will counter hyperventilation. Regular exercise will decrease general stress levels decreasing the chance of panic attacks.
If you find that your breathing pattern is irregular or uncomfortable a lot of the time, the best way to 'reset' it is by exercising. Start off gradually and check with your doctor if you are not used to exercise.

Finally you can practice a special type of breathing, not into your chest but deep into your tummy or diaphragm which is below your chest. The important thing here is that the out breath must be longer that the in breath. This causes stimulation of the part of your nervous system responsible for relaxation. This is a basic law of biology and if you breathe in this way then your body will have no choice but to relax.

It may take a few minutes but the body will respond regardless of what your mind is thinking. Experience this now. Sit down and close your eyes for a little while. Just become aware of your breathing…and breathe in to the count of seven… and breathe out to the count of eleven. You can hold for a couple of seconds at the bottom of the out breath if that's comfortable for you.

It may be a little difficult at first, but doing this regularly causes your general anxiety level to come down. You may also find that you begin to breathe this way automatically if you feel anxious. Regular relaxation actually starts to inhibit the production of stress hormones in the body so it actually becomes harder and harder to panic. As you become more generally relaxed the 'baseline' of arousal from which you are starting lowers. It actually becomes harder to get stressed!

Hyperventilation responds very well to this technique. If you practice this daily, hyperventilating should cease to be a problem very quickly. It can also give you much more control over panic attacks.

You are hopefully coming to understand that panic attack symptoms are natural physiological reactions. Next, how a panic attack causes the brain to behave in a certain way...

The Brain and Panic Attacks - 'Emotional Hijacking'

When you have a panic attack, or become very anxious your emotional response can actually bypass your 'thinking brain'. The red dot in the diagram is the amygdala, which is involved with creating a 'faster than thought' panic attack. It is very difficult, or impossible, to think clearly when highly emotional because the part of the brain you think with is inhibited.

This is a very primitive part of your brain, designed for survival, rather than problem solving in complex situations.

The most common comment from people who have panic attacks is 'It's totally irrational', which is quite right. It's not the rational part of the brain that deals with panic attacks. This is why people often find it hard to make decisions during a panic attack.

This response has been termed an 'emotional hijacking' by Daniel Goleman, who wrote the best selling book 'Emotional Intelligence'. By this, he means that your thinking, planning rational mind is hijacked by your emotional response.

The first sign that your panic attacks have gone may be when you notice you can't have them any more. This is because something fundamental will have changed in the way the mind responds.

Other Self Help Techniques for Getting Rid of Panic Attacks...

Scaling Panic Attacks Down
The first technique is this: if you experience anxious or panicky sensations, you can rate their intensity from 1 to 10, full-blown panic being 10 and deep relaxation being 1. So, for example, if you are in a situation and begin to feel uneasy you could say to yourself 'I am now at a scale 5'. If you began to feel worse you might say inwardly 'I am now at a scale 6'. As you begin to feel better, you can count yourself back down to a 2 or a 1.

By scaling anxiety in this way, you are doing three things.

You are 'putting a fence' around the experience so the limits are clear. After all, it's impossible for panic to go up indefinitely…it has to level off.
You are using the thinking part of the brain. In order to stop and think about where you are on a scale of anxiety you have to use the neo-cortex; the part which is not so concerned with emotion but more with thinking (see emotional hijacking).
For the time it takes for you to grade the panic you are less 'in' the panic attack and more outside it… like an observer. This dilutes the emotional content.
You can get some better data on how long the panic attack lasts, how intense it is etc. This gives you more control. Although it can feel that panic attacks go on for ever, they can actually only continue for short periods - they are short-term survival responses.
The simple rule is that by giving the thinking brain a task we diminish the experience of unpleasant emotion.

It's good to use a pen and paper to scale anxiety because then you can see how things are improving. It also gives you something to do during a panic attack although people sometimes find it a little difficult to write as the brain is concentrating on larger movements at these times, rather than fine ones.


Be
AWARE of Panic Attacks
The next technique with which I would like to arm you is the AWARE technique.

So the 'A' in aware stands for 'Accept the anxiety. Decide just to go with the experience. Fighting anxiety, getting angry or scared just fuels the fire, you know a panic attack is a perfectly natural response, so although it can be frustrating, there is nothing to be afraid of.

The 'W' in aware is for 'Watch the anxiety' Observe it without judging it to be good or bad. Remember - you are more than just your anxiety.

The next 'A' in 'aware is for 'Act normal'. Behave normally and continue doing what you intended to do. Breathe normally focusing on extending the out breath, If you run from the situation your immediate anxiety will of course decrease but this may lead to an increase in future anxiety.

Staying in the situation helps 'decondition' the panic response as your mind gets the message that it is not really threatening. This is why people often say that the first few minutes of public speaking are the worst. If you continue for longer than a few minutes then the mind gets the message that it's not really that threatening.

The 'R' in 'aware' is for 'Repeat the steps'. Continue accepting your anxiety, watching it and acting normal until it goes down to a comfortable level.

And finally the 'E' in 'aware' is for 'Expect the best'. What you fear may never happen. You will surprise yourself by the effective way you handle situations when using the 'AWARE' technique.

Of course, getting rid of all anxiety is not desirable, or even possible, but getting rid of panic attacks is.

The Next Step
The next step in getting rid of anxiety or panic attacks for good is to re-educate the unconscious mind so that it understands that the situations that currently trigger your panic attacks are not actually dangerous.




(c) unkown

this was on another thread but i think very useful:hug:
 
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C

cazwhite47

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hi........ its called the fear of the fear
 
T

telemetry9

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breathe

I did an anxiety management course some years ago and it stopped the fear of panic attacks from happening and I haven't had one since that course.

It's incredibly simple to achieve a way of fixing the sense of losing control when outside: it is focused on the fact that when we feel terror then we begin to stop breathing properly and actually think we are going to die. This is our body's response to the fear of being in a given situation and it makes us literally think we are going to die.

I would suggest an anxiety management course to anyone if you can find one in your area. The most important and simple cure for panic attacks is to simply focus on your breathing despite the feeling of fear and to breathe normally. If you are conscious of your breathing and continue to breathe then the feeling of dying and the terror that entails won't happen.

I hope this helps someone. I would however state this is a coping mechanism for anxiety and might help you get through a given situation and see it to the end but it doesn't take away the fear of the situation itself but it does give you more control over your response.
 
yakuza

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Breathing

The key to overcoming panic attacks is to relax. That’s easy to say but difficult to do. A good way to do this is to concentrate on your breathing making sure it is slow and steady. One of the first signs of a panic attack is difficulty breathing, and you may find yourself panting to catch a breath. When you focus on making those breaths even, your heart rate will slow down and the panic will subside.
Breathing more slowly and deeply has a calming effect. A good way to breathe easier is to let all the air out of your lungs. This forces your lungs to reach for a deeper breath next time. Continue to focus on your out-breath, letting all the air out of your lungs and soon you'll find your breathing is deeper and you feel calmer.

:)
 
L

Lou17

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MusicMels- Im 22 and feel similar to what you do,:( so dont worry your not alone. Dont allow yourself to get more stressed by having to explain yourself, there is nothing wrong with you it is natural to feel anxious. You have to accept that it is a part of you, dont feel embarressed about it, I dont anymore when people ask me something related to it Ive stopped being so defensive. When you stop seeing it as something that will be perceived as something negative the stress will disappear.:clap: Just dont allow yourself to be totally won over by it, I allowed myself to and now I dont go out at all.:cry:
 
drymyeyes

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I often avoid going out because i'm worried about having a panic attack (manys the time I have abandoned my shopping basket in sainsburys and made a hasty retreat to the safety of my house )

getting off the bus several stops too early is another panic avoidance strategy which doesn't work very well :D
i do the bus thing i thought i was the only 1 lol i recently moved house and i got of the bus so early because i was worried it wouldnt go the right way that i had to walk about a mile to get home and when i got there the bus i was on had a stop right across the road :oops:
i have such a fear of not being able to get out of a social situation that i dont even enjoy spending time with my friends :( wich gets me down but at the same time i will pass up any offers to go out that they make even though i know deep down i want some company.
x
 
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