Thursday, April 21, 2011

Il n'est pas parti juste parce que vous avez oublié que c'était là

Agoraphobia - ăg'ər-ə-fō'bē-ə


An abnormal fear of open or public places. is NOT a fear of open spaces. People tend to forget an affliction like this. They think it may have gone away and pick up from where they left off before you were diagnosed. Never is this more prevalent than with those closest to a person who suffers from Agoraphobia. Especially if the person with it tries so hard to keep it from affecting them as to make it nearly unnoticeable. The fact is, people take it personally and make your inability to wander out even worse. So, for the sake of argument, here is a description of this terrible thing with which to try to live.

Agoraphobia is often called "fear of open spaces" but this description is simplistic and misleading.

Agoraphobia is like an unreasonable fear or anxiety associated with unfamiliar surroundings or situations, but this description also oversimplifies a complex issue. In some cases, agoraphobia arises associated with panic attacks from panic disorder, and the fear of places or situations occurs when these were the triggers of the panic attacks.

In other words, agoraphobia becomes like a "fear of having another panic attack" or a fear of anything or anywhere that might trigger a panic attack. A vicious cycle sets in where anxiety or fear of certain places or situations make a panic attack more likely to occur, which in turn raises the anxiety level. Whatever its description, agoraphobia can be not only emotionally stressing, it can actually become debilitating, leading to a life of self-imposed isolation.

Another misconception is that agoraphobia is a fear of "crowded spaces" (which would be the social anxiety disorder). Once again, an agoraphobic does not fear people: he or she rather fears an embarrassing situation with no escape. Some people with agoraphobia are comfortable seeing visitors, but only in a defined space they feel in control of. Such people may live for years without leaving their homes, while happily seeing visitors and working, as long as they can stay within their safety zones.

An agoraphobic may experience severe panic attacks in situations where they feel trapped, insecure, out of control, or too far from his personal comfort zone. During severe bouts of anxiety, the agoraphobic is confined not only to their home, but to one or two rooms and they may even become bed-bound until their over-stimulated nervous system can quiet down, and their adrenaline levels can return to a more normal level.

Agoraphobics are often extremely sensitized to their own bodily sensations, subconsciously over-reacting to perfectly normal events. To take one example, the exertion involved in climbing a flight of stairs may be the cause for a full-blown panic attack, because it increases the heartbeat and breathing rate, which the agoraphobic interprets as the start of a panic attack instead of a normal fluctuation.

People with severe agoraphobia develop the ability to avoid situations that may bring on an attack.

It didn't go away just because you forgot it was there



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