Agoraphobia

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Agoraphobia is a condition that causes strong anxiety and panic. Symptoms are triggered when you do not feel safe. Some examples are when you are alone, feel trapped in an elevator, or are in a large crowd. You may fear you will be embarrassed when you panic. Your fears may make it hard for you to work or be involved in activities you enjoy.

AFTER YOU LEAVE:

Medicines:

  • Antianxiety medicine: This medicine may be given to decrease your feelings of fear or anxiety. You may be given a limited amount to help with your symptoms until you can follow up with your primary healthcare provider or psychologist.

  • Antidepressant medicine: This medicine may help to decrease anxiety and depression. It may take several weeks for you to feel better. Do not stop taking your medicine before you talk to your primary healthcare provider or psychiatrist.

  • Take your medicine as directed: Call your primary healthcare provider or psychologist if you think your medicine is not working or you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why you take them. Take the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of emergency.

Follow up with your primary healthcare provider or psychologist as directed:

You will need to follow up with your primary healthcare provider or psychiatrist on a regular basis. He will want to know if your symptoms are getting better. Depending on your symptoms, he may need to change your medicine. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Therapies:

  • Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT): This therapy helps you understand your condition and find ways to control your fear. You learn which thoughts bring anxiety, and how to change them and work through them.

  • Exposure therapy: Exposure or desensitization therapy helps you face a feared object, person, or situation. Fantasy (not real) or real-life situations are used with this therapy. The goal of desensitization therapy is to help decrease your fear or anxiety.

Self care:

  • Cope with anxiety in a healthy way: Do not drink alcohol, use drugs, or smoke cigarettes to control your anxiety. Practice the other ways you have learned to cope during therapy. Bring someone you trust when you face your fears if this will help you cope.

  • Keep a diary: Write down how you feel during certain situations. You can include what you did to cope with your fear. The diary will help you and your primary healthcare provider see if you have less anxiety over time. Take your diary with you every time you visit your primary healthcare provider.

For more information:

  • Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA)
    8730 Georgia Avenue, Suite 600
    Silver Spring , MD 20910
    Phone: 1- 240 - 485-1001
    Web Address: http://www.adaa.org
  • National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Public Information & Communication Branch
    6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 8184, MSC 9663
    Bethesda , MD 20892-9663
    Phone: 1- 301 - 443-4513
    Phone: 1- 866 - 615-6464
    Web Address: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/

Contact your primary healthcare provider or psychologist if:

  • You have trouble sleeping, or are sleeping all the time.

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You have symptoms of an allergic reaction to your medicine, such as a rash or vomiting.

  • You have sudden trouble breathing, chest pain, or a fast heartbeat. The symptoms are worse or last longer than you regularly experience when you panic.

  • You think about hurting or killing yourself.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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