Living with agoraphobia can make life difficult. Professional treatment can help you overcome this disorder or manage it effectively so you don't become a prisoner to your fears.
You can also take these steps to cope and care for yourself when you have agoraphobia:
May 02, 2014
- Stick to your treatment plan. Take medications as directed. Keep therapy appointments. Consistency can make a big difference, especially when it comes to taking your medication.
- Try not to avoid feared situations. It's hard to go to places or be in situations that make you uncomfortable or that bring on symptoms of anxiety. But practicing going to more and more places can make them less frightening and anxiety provoking. Family, friends and your therapist can help you work on this.
- Learn calming skills. Working with your health care professional, you can learn how to calm and soothe yourself. You can practice these skills on your own, especially at the first hint of anxiety.
- Practice relaxation techniques. Meditation, yoga and imagery are simple relaxation techniques that may help — and you can do them in the comfort of your own home. Practice these techniques when you aren't anxious or worried, and then put them into action during stressful situations.
- Avoid alcohol and illegal drugs. These substances can worsen your panic or anxiety symptoms.
- Take care of yourself. Get enough sleep, be physically active every day, and eat a healthy diet, including lots of vegetables and fruits.
- Anxiety disorders. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5. 5th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2013. http://www.psychiatryonline.org. Accessed Dec 10, 2013.
- Highlights of changes from DSM-IV-TR to DSM-5. American Psychiatric Association. http://www.dsm5.org/Documents/changes%20from%20dsm-iv-tr%20to%20dsm-5.pdf. Accessed Oct. 8, 2013.
- Ravindran AV, et al. Complementary and alternative therapies as add-on to pharmacotherapy for mood and anxiety disorders: A systematic review. Journal of Affective Disorders. 2013;15:707.
- Natural medicines in the clinical management of anxiety. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed Oct. 11, 2013.
- McCabe RE. Agoraphobia in adults: Epidemiology, pathogenesis, clinical manifestations, course, and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 10, 2013.
- Numbers count: Mental disorders in America. National Institute of Mental Health. http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/the-numbers-count-mental-disorders-in-america/index.shtml#Agoraphobia. Accessed Dec. 10, 2013.
- Kava. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed Oct. 17, 2013.
- Anxiety disorders. National Institute of Mental Health. http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml. Accessed Oct. 11, 2013.
- Mayo-Wilson E, et al. Media-delivered cognitive behavioural therapy and behavioural therapy (self-help) for anxiety disorders in adults (Protocol). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD005330.pub3/abstract. Accessed Oct. 11, 2013.
- Whiteside SP (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 2, 2014.
- Hall-Flavin DK (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 17, 2014.
- Pexeva (prescribing information). Miami, Fla.: Noven Therapeutics; 2012. http://www.pexeva.com/index.php. Accessed Jan. 21, 2014.