How agoraphobia affects people’s lives

By KENDRA BURDICK

When someone feels anxious about a place because that person feels out of control, judged, stuck, or even helpless, it is called agoraphobia. This fear causes people to try not to leave their house in hopes of avoiding that feeling. 

A person that has agoraphobia is prone to panic attacks and is easily triggered from an overwhelming thought or situation. Agoraphobia is heightened in situations including big crowds or when a person becomes overwhelmed.

According to the research site “Harvard Health Publishing,” writer and researcher Dr. Bobbi Wegner explains that “in the US, about 2% of adults and teens have agoraphobia and roughly a third to half of people with agoraphobia have had panic attacks prior to diagnosis.”

With the pandemic, people with such conditions try to avoid situations where they feel embarrassed, threatened or helpless. According to an American Psychological Association (APA) report, “Americans are experiencing a nationwide mental health crisis, this is shown from generation statistics from a scientific study, (APA) report Mental Health Affects Gen. Z, that could have repercussions for years to come.” 

As to getting agoraphobia treated, it is often treated with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which helps people understand connections between feelings, thoughts and actions. Sometimes the CBT will suggest medicine, such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications.

Dr. Wegner states that “without treatment, getting over agoraphobia is difficult (only 10% of people are successful). The SAMHSA National Helpline (800-662-4357) may be able to refer you to mental health clinicians in your state who treat anxiety.”

Johnny Roe, a junior at the University of Redlands, explains how having agoraphobia has affected his life and furthermore shares what it is from his perspective.

“Right when I graduated high school my agoraphobia had me trapped in my house with my parents,” Roe explains. “I use gaming to remind me that there is magic and love and beauty out there.”

Roe shares his insight on what it is like for him to deal with agoraphobia.

 “Agoraphobia makes me not like myself very much. I have a lot of insecurity and I’m nervous about meeting people in person,” said Roe. “It makes me feel like the words my head says about my insecurities are always buzzing in my brain. It makes it hard to hear anything else.”

“Some advice I’d give is, yeah, sometimes it’s hard to see past your insecurity and see that people actually do care. I mean, people with agoraphobia tend to be way more charismatic and nice than most would think,” Roe adds a light side from his experience.

According to Josephine Rose, a freshman at Crafton Hills College, spending time with her friend, Johnny Roe, is “just talking to a door but is helping both of us to be more open and it’s good to have encouraging friends, that’s what we try to be for each other cause that’s what you need when you have or are around someone with agoraphobia.” Photo edited with layers to create effect. (KENDRA BURDICK/ Ethic News photo)

Agoraphobia has been proven to have challenged and altered people’s lives. Although many people assume agoraphobia is simply a fear of open spaces, it’s actually a more complex condition than others may think.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s