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WHAT YOU NEED TO 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.
Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider 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 healthcare provider as directed:
You will need to follow up with your healthcare provider 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.
- 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.
Learn to recognize and manage your symptoms quickly so you do not have to go back to the emergency department.
- 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 healthcare provider see if you have less anxiety over time. Take your diary with you every time you visit your 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 healthcare provider if:
- You are not sleeping, or are sleeping all the time.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Return to the emergency department 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.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.