Someone with agoraphobia experiences intense fear and anxiety—often in public places—that he or she may not be able to escape, or that help may not be available.
People with agoraphobia tend to avoid leaving their homes, fearing the outside world is unsafe, or that that may experience unwanted physical symptoms. The feared symptoms might be related to panic, or they may involve worries about potentially embarrassing physical reactions, such as vomiting or fainting.
Public places that are frequent triggers for people with agoraphobia include crowds, open spaces (e.g., streets, bridges), enclosed spaces (e.g., theater; stores), and public transportation. People may avoid triggering situations as much as possible, and when they do enter into these situations, they must “white knuckle it” through. Sometimes avoidance becomes so persistent that people stop leaving their homes altogether.
Learning to be in situations that are triggering requires a deliberate and structured approach. Contact us at the Portland Psychotherapy Anxiety Clinic to discuss treatment options.