Treatment of Agoraphobia

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Written by Dr. Vivekanand, MBBS | Medically Reviewed by The Medindia Medical Review Team  on Sep 18, 2014
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Treatment of Agoraphobia

Agoraphobia can be treated using drugs and by conducting behaviour therapy sessions.

Agoraphobic patients generally try to avoid situations, in order to manage their fears and anxieties.

  • Agoraphobic patients, when forced to face phobic situations, start getting very anxious, with or with out panic attacks and often seek treatment.
  • The cure for Agoraphobia involves various therapies and drugs.

Psychological therapy for Agoraphobia:

Behaviour Therapy

  • Behaviour therapy exposes the patient to situations that they fear, it is but not a very effective therapy as the patient compliance is low and the patient tends to get more anxious.

Cognitive Therapy

  • The patient's are made to examine their thought process and differentiate, for themselves the harmful and unwanted thought patterns, so that they can gradually change their process of thinking and thus overcome their fears.

Cognitive - Behaviour Therapy (CBT)

  • The most effective of the treatments, this therapy usually combines two types of psychotherapy: cognitive therapy and behaviour therapy.
  • It is conducted with a basic goal being able to rid the patient of unwanted responses and to learn new ways of reacting to situations.

Relaxation Techniques

  • This therapy involves the induction of relaxation techniques, such as breathing and mild exercise in the patient's life.
  • This would help the patients to cope with the stress they are likely to encounter in their day-to-day life.
  • It is also known to relieve physical symptoms associated with phobic disorders and anxiety disorders.

Hypnotherapy

  • This involves the therapist to explore the patient's subconscious mind with idea of reprogramming his thought process.
  • Many patients are not comfortable with this method of treatment as they feel that they loose control of their body and mind.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)

  • This approach signifies a set of models and principles that are meant to explore how the mind (neuro), language patterns (linguistic), and the organization of human perception fall into systemic patterns.
  • This therapy interacts, to create a situation of reality with the mind and influences the human behaviour.

Energy Psychology

  • Fast emerging as one of the most commonly used methods to treat phobias because its results have proven to be effective, safe, and long lasting.
  • The therapy works in a similar way to that of acupuncture, only the difference being, there are a no needles involved, rather it can be termed as emotional acupuncture.

Drug treatment for Agoraphobia

The drug treatment for the conditions include-

Anxiolytic drugs / Benzodiazepines.

  • Very useful for specific short-term treatment.

Antidepressant drugs / Tricyclic drugs.

  • Usually used to treat when a depressive disorder also is associated with agoraphobia.
  • They also have a therapeutic effect on patients who are not depressed but suffer from frequent panic attacks.

Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

  • Most common anti depressants prescribed during panic attacks.

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAIO's).

  • They were one of the earliest lines of treatment.
  • Seldom used now as they have the tendency to interact with certain food items.

Herbal medicine.

  • St.John's Worth/ Hypericum Peforatium
  • Also known as Klamath weed or Goat weed.
  • It was initially used for its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties.
  • It is currently used widely to treat depression and anxiety disorders and has been proven to be very effective.

References:

  1. Shorter Oxford Textbook of Psychiatry (IVth Edition): Oxford University Press - Michael Gelder, Richard Mayou & Philip Cowen.
  2. A Short Textbook of Psychiatry (Vth Edition): Jaypee Brothers, -Niraj Ahuja, MD.
  3. Oxford Handbook of Clinical Specialities. 6th Edition. Oxford press. -Judith Colier, Murray longmore, Peter Scally.

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hello sir..may be i have this kind of phobia when i travel in crowded train...staying away from my family for job purpose....i feel sweating, vometing, uncomfirtable what should i do....i feel losing control on my body. is der any treatment available for this...

rahul786

respected sir i am also feeling these type of fear and facing the same situation presently..... some more situation i face is that due to fear of crowd my stomach is unable to digest food due to fear whatever i had eaten 5 minutes earlier leads to 1st stomach ache then intestnal contraction and then loose motion plz help me

It isn't like me to ever be first for anything. I am 53 and have not left my home but twice in over a year. I have suffered shyness my whole life. I have had a number of stressful episodes in my life and still have been able to overcome them except this one. But now I am at the mercy of my daughter to help me and I want to find a way forward. I don't have insurance so I can't get medical help. What help is there for me????

guest

I've had agoraphobia since I was 16 and the best book is by Claire Weeks, Simple Effective Treatment for Agoraphobia. It's simple, makes sense and really helps. The correct medication is really helpful. You can do it!

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