Panic Disorder can be difficult for most people with the illness.
This is because Panic Disorder not only includes the regular experience of panic attacks but also the anxiety of having another panic attack without warning. When the fear of an impending attack gets severe, some men and women start to become anxious about leaving the house.
They may eventually develop agoraphobia, which is the fear of public places.
Let’s take a closer look.
Panic Disorder And Agoraphobia
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, approximately 6 million Americans experience panic disorder.
And research suggests that women are twice as likely as men to develop panic disorder. Yet, regardless of gender, the illness tends to begin in early adulthood. Those with the illness and who regularly experience panic attacks may eventually want to avoid places where they feel a quick escape is difficult. For instance, people may avoid shopping malls, public transportation, or stadiums.
Over time, as a person limits the places they feel comfortable visiting while always remaining on edge about experiencing another panic attack, they may find that they want to stay home to avoid experiencing anxiety and fear. In fact, some people develop fixed locations and routes to and from home in order to continue to feel safe. Straying from their fixed paths of transportation and visitations may create extreme anxiety.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, about one in three people with panic disorder may develop agoraphobia. It’s important to know that treatment for panic disorder and agoraphobia work for most people. Yet, what may keep some people from getting treatment is embarrassment. Many people are afraid to tell their family and friends about what they’re going through.
Feeling a need to keep their symptoms to themselves, men and women don’t say anything at all and continue to suffer.
Panic Disorder Treatment
However, treatment for panic disorder and agoraphobia can bring about results – results that can be life changing.
For instance, if you were required to visit a public setting in order to meet with your lawyer, for instance, you might feel the need to drink or use drugs in order to keep the anxiety at bay. Or you might avoid the meeting altogether or you may find yourself pulling at your hair, biting your nails, or excessively scratching yourself as a way to cope with the fear. These circumstances can be avoided with treatment.
Treatment for panic disorder and agoraphobia may include both medication and psychotherapy.
The medication can provide relief from the anxiety and fear you experience. Anti-anxiety or anti-depressants can help reduce the intensity of your symptoms so that you can return to living the life you choose. At the same time, therapy may assist you with identifying certain thoughts and beliefs that may be triggering panic attacks. You might also be able to identify beliefs and feelings that also contribute to attacks and keep you from leaving your home. Along these lines, some therapists may invite someone with panic disorder to participate in exposure therapy. This is a type of therapy that slowly introduces someone to the trigger of anxiety in order to eventually learn that they are safe even when in the presence of that trigger.
Although panic disorder may lead to agoraphobia, it doesn’t have to.
Contact a mental health provide today for the right support.
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Vantage Point Recovery is a lifestyle management and recovery center in Thousand Oaks. We share mental health tips and other helpful information on the Vantage Point Recovery Blog. If you need help or support mental health awareness, please connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.