Coping and support
Living with agoraphobia can make life difficult. Professional treatment can help you overcome this disorder or manage it effectively so that 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:
- Stick to your treatment plan. Take medications as directed. Keep therapy appointments. Communicate regularly with your therapist. Consistency can make a big difference, especially when it comes to practicing skills and 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 therapist, you can learn how to calm and soothe yourself. Meditation, yoga, massage and visualization are simple relaxation techniques that also may help. Practice these techniques when you aren't anxious or worried, and then put them into action during stressful situations.
- Avoid alcohol and recreational drugs. Also limit or avoid caffeine. 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.
- Join a support group. Support groups for people with anxiety disorders can help you connect to others facing similar challenges and share experiences.
There's no sure way to prevent agoraphobia. However, anxiety tends to increase the more you avoid situations that you fear. If you start to have mild fears about going places that are safe, try to practice going to those places over and over again before your fear becomes overwhelming. If this is too hard to do on your own, ask a family member or friend to go with you, or seek professional help.
If you experience anxiety going places or have panic attacks, get treatment as soon as possible. Get help early to keep symptoms from getting worse. Anxiety, like many other mental health conditions, can be harder to treat if you wait.