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How To Identify Agoraphobia

Posted by in Health: Mental Health  ~  February 16, 2012 03:38:11 PM

Agoraphobia is one of the most agonizing mental health problems in our society today, and yet it still remains a bit of a mystery to most health care professionals. Technically, agoraphobia is defined in many different ways, depending upon the surrounding problems that accompany it. That said, it agoraphobia often results in a debilitating life situation, and it only gets worse if the person is not properly looked after. How would a person know if their loved one had agoraphobia?

Having agoraphobia is a matter of degrees. Not all people have the same signs and symptoms with agoraphobia, but many people with the affliction have some common ones. Keep in mind that the following signs and symptoms of agoraphobia are generalized, and that only a doctor can diagnose someone with mental health issues.

Agoraphobia can manifest itself in a number of ways, but the end result will often be complete confinement to one’s home. In the beginning, the individual may only go out at certain times or with certain people. They may avoid certain situations that bring on feelings that are uncomfortable. They may only be able to go out of the home with certain people that they feel safe with. These are common signs of people with agoraphobia.

Another common sign or symptom of agoraphobics are panic attacks. These quick, powerful feelings can come on in a moment’s notice, and they usually only last for a small period of time. The difficult thing about panic attacks is that the symptoms of a panic attack also mimic those symptoms of other more serious life threatening illnesses. This can lead the agoraphobic on a wild goose chase with doctors and the medical community trying to find problems that may not even exist. When the agoraphobic is assured that they are healthy, they rarely believe it. Instead, they move on to some other doctor to try to find out what is really wrong. This cycle can go on for weeks, months, years, or even a lifetime in extreme cases.

These panic attacks often lead to the behavior of staying home all the time. It is not that they want to, but they are afraid to go back out into the situation that gave them the panic attack in the first place. This is how the agoraphobic generally becomes housebound.

If you suspect that a relative or friend may be agoraphobic, speak with a local hospital or support personnel. The doctors and nurses are very capable of recognizing the signs and symptoms of this affliction as a rule, and they can probably refer you to organizations or someone that might can help. Also, talk with the person about their affliction. The agoraphobic could probably use the conversation, and might be willing to go in and see someone. Not all agoraphobics are in denial. Many are aware of their problem but unable to do anything about it.