One of the lesser known and most misunderstood anxiety disorders is agoraphobia, characterized by fear and avoidance of public places. The person may feel trapped and helpless being in open, enclosed or crowded spaces, and can experience a panic attack. A former teaching assistant, Abby Lewis (22) from Newcastle, has revealed her struggles with the condition that has forced her to remain confined to her home since two years. She recently admitted that while the whole world celebrated Christmas with full fervor and gaiety, she remained at home. “This is the third Christmas I’ve been stuck at home and haven’t been able to celebrate like I used to. It’s literally my favorite time of year,” she said.
Lewis is battling mental health disorders since the age of 10. It was an ordeal for her to wake up every morning, which affected her performance at school and her friendships, as she would avoid going out during the weekends. At 17, she got a job of an assistant teacher but because of her anxiety, she could not pass through her probation. Later, she started working at a bridal shop but couldn’t continue for long as she would remain sick for days and had to take an off. She was diagnosed with anxiety and depression in 2013. Two years later, she suffered a panic attack on a bus and has not stepped out from her home ever since.
Her condition is so debilitating that she can’t go further than her back lawn and feels ill even at the thought of meeting her grandmother who stays only four doors away from her. She lives her life through social media by chatting with friends and browsing through photographs uploaded by her family of all the places they visit. She is blessed to have the support of her partner who visits her occasionally and cares for her. Via social media, Lewis connects with others who are also grappling with the same problem. She misses going out for Christmas shopping, seeing glittering lights and happy faces.
Mental ordeal of living with agoraphobia
By opening about her struggles, Lewis has shared that it is hard for someone else to comprehend what she feels. By staying indoors, she is missing on life. She joined a Facebook group calls Girls Mouth that has provided her immense support, giving her hope that one day she will be back to normalcy.
Agoraphobia can cause immense anxiety as the person fears that he/she won’t be able to escape in case something happens to them in a crowded place. This causes further distress, as despite the desire to go out, such people tend to avoid it. Agoraphobia can limit a person’s ability to work, socialize, attend important events and even complete daily tasks. Agoraphobia coupled with panic attacks can further cripple a person’s life.
Anxiety disorders can be treated
Nearly 0.8 percent adult American population suffers from agoraphobia and 40 percent cases are classified as severe. Patients respond well to psychotherapies and medications that are aimed at helping them confront their fears and overcoming them to regain control of their lives. Some of the treatments effective in treating specific phobias include, but are not limited to, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), relaxation exercises and meditation.
If you or your loved has any type of fear or worry that’s affecting the way you live, look no further. Sovereign Health offers evidence-based treatment for all anxiety disorders. If you are looking for top-notch treatment centers for panic disorders in California or wish to know about the finest panic disorders treatment in California, call our 24/7 helpline (866) 954-0529 or chat online with our advisor.