Fighting Back Against Agoraphobia: 3 Things You Can Do To Get Your Freedom Back

Defined as an irrational fear of open or public spaces, agoraphobia is a condition that affects more than 3 million people in the United States at any given time. People with the condition generally tend to avoid situations or places where symptoms occur. In extreme cases, people with agoraphobia can't leave their home, drive or do other things that most people take for granted. If you are suffering from agoraphobia, there is hope.

Since it is a condition that waxes and wanes, you can achieve remission and get your life back if you work hard at it. Following are three things you can do to get your freedom back. 

Pharmacological Solutions

Medications, such as anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medicines and beta blockers - heart medications that control heart rate and the release of adrenaline into the body - are commonly used to treat agoraphobia, panic disorder and other anxiety disorders. And they are quite successful at alleviating many of the symptoms associated with these conditions.

If you haven't tried to take medication in order to control your symptoms, you should seriously think about it. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), a combination of medication and therapy is recommended to overcome agoraphobia. 

Exposure Therapy

Exposure therapy, also called desensitization therapy, involves putting yourself in situations that are uncomfortable and remaining in them until your anxiety symptoms subside, which usually occurs within 10 to 15 minutes. Repeated exposure to the things that trigger symptoms makes it easier for you to control your symptoms while you're in those situations.

For example, if you have difficulty riding in a car, you could lessen your anxiety by riding in a car every day or even multiple times per day. Many people who try exposure therapy even report that their symptoms disappear after multiple exposures.   

Counseling and Therapy

Another key to the puzzle is therapy. Find a counselor you trust who is experienced with agoraphobia and anxiety disorders. Meet with your therapist several times per month until you have a better handle on your symptoms. During therapy sessions, you will likely figure out what coping mechanisms work for you and how best to battle your condition. 

Agoraphobia is not a life-long sentence. It can be treated successfully through combination therapies that include medication and counseling. However, you have to be willing to do the work. There is no magic pill or procedure that will make it all go away suddenly. You have to persevere to overcome agoraphobia.

To learn more, contact a company like Martin & Luckhurst Therapy & Consultation Services with any questions you have.