How to Help Someone with Agoraphobia | Banyan Mental Health
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How to Help Someone with Agoraphobia

how to help someone with agoraphobia
Living with anxiety can be stressful; having a loved one who suffers from an anxiety disorder can be just as challenging.

You may not completely understand how they’re feeling or what situations can trigger a panic attack. Helping someone with agoraphobia, for instance, requires an understanding of the disorder itself and how it affects people. The professionals at our mental health care in Boca Raton are sharing some tips on how to help someone with agoraphobia.

What Is Agoraphobia?

Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder in which an individual becomes extremely terrified or panicked when they’re in a place or situation that would be difficult to escape from or where they wouldn’t receive immediate help. Agoraphobia is often confused with just the fear of open spaces, but it’s much more complex than that. People with agoraphobia might be frightened of public transportation, shopping malls, or being outside of their home in general. Other individuals with this disorder may be afraid of being in crowds, elevators, or on bridges, whether walking or driving. Agoraphobia is often a complication of a panic disorder, which is a type of anxiety disorder in which a person experiences intense fear and terror that can cause physical and psychological symptoms like panic attacks. This isn’t to say that all individuals who have agoraphobia have a history of panic disorders or attacks; every case is different.

Common agoraphobia symptoms and signs include:

  • Avoiding certain places or situations
  • Stress or fear upon leaving the house or in certain situations
  • Panic attacks in certain places or situations
  • Physical symptoms like excessive sweating, trouble breathing, shaking, and chest pains during a panic attack

Individuals with agoraphobia often benefit the most from professional treatment. Because this condition can cause panic attacks and other physical and mental symptoms, it can be a difficult disorder to live with. At Banyan Mental Health, we offer a residential mental health program that allows patients to live onsite while they receive treatment and learn how to cope with both immediate and hidden symptoms of anxiety disorders.

Tips on How to Help Someone with Agoraphobia

No one wants to go through life fearful of certain situations or places. Anxiety disorders like agoraphobia can be extremely debilitating and can diminish a person’s quality of life. This disorder can make a person feel as if they’re unable to go out on their own or not at all. Agoraphobia can lead to relationship problems and financial problems as well. A person with agoraphobia who does not receive anxiety treatment may struggle with additional mental health issues like depression and may turn to dangerous coping methods like substance abuse.

Learning how you can help someone with agoraphobia is important if you have a loved one with this disorder. While you can’t formally treat that person, there are ways you can provide support.

Learn More About Agoraphobia

The first step in helping someone with agoraphobia is to learn more about it. This is a complex disorder that’s often misunderstood. Many movies and TV shows also obscure our views of mental illness by portraying them in a false or comedic light. Learn more about the triggers of agoraphobia as well as its physical and psychological symptoms. Gain a new perspective about this disorder by reading articles, reading blogs, and watching videos by people who have it.

Learn How to Be Patient

Patience is the key to helping an individual with any mental illness. It’s tempting and very easy to lose patience with someone with agoraphobia, but learning more about this condition can help you empathize with the individual when they feel anxious. Losing your patience will only make them feel self-conscious about their condition, which may prevent them from reaching out to help in the future.

Don’t Push Them to Do Things They Don’t Want to Do

Anxiety is a real disorder; it’s not a joke. Agoraphobia is much more complicated than a simple fear; you cannot “fix” this disorder by forcing someone to face their fears. It’s an elevated sense of terror. If you wouldn’t force someone with a fear of heights to go rock climbing, then you shouldn’t pressure a person with agoraphobia to take the subway.

Don’t Belittle Them

Not only is it difficult for this person to live with agoraphobia, but it may also be difficult for them to be transparent about their disorder with others. Whether it’s a spouse, friend, or family member, this is a person who has trusted you with their struggles. It’s easy to belittle or dismiss the person’s feelings if you don’t struggle with this disorder. Don’t say “get over it” or “toughen up.” This can be frustrating for a person with agoraphobia and it can prevent them from reaching out for help in the future.

Check In Regularly

Call them or visit them regularly. People with agoraphobia may stay inside for days or weeks at a time, which can be damaging to their mental health, physical health, and their quality of life. Even if they aren’t in a situation where they’re fearful or experiencing symptoms of anxiety, you should contact them to let them know you care.

Go Out With Them

People with agoraphobia often avoid leaving their homes alone, so a good way to help someone with this disorder is to accompany them to the grocery store, doctor’s appointment, and so on. This will at least help them fulfill certain responsibilities and ensure that they’re well taken care of.

Help Them Find Treatment

Help them find treatment. An individual with any anxiety disorder should receive professional treatment. If you have a loved one with agoraphobia, you should help them find professional mental health treatment that can address the short and long-term effects of anxiety on the body and teach them how to properly cope with these symptoms.

At Banyan Mental Health, we offer a variety of mental health programs in Boca that are led by licensed therapists and staff with extensive experience in treating mental disorders like anxiety. If you or someone you know requires treatment for a mental illness, call us now at 888-280-4763 to learn how we can help.

At Banyan Mental Health, we offer a variety of mental health programs in Boca that are led by licensed therapists and staff with extensive experience in treating mental disorders like anxiety. If you or someone you know requires treatment for a mental illness, call us now at 888-280-4763 to learn how we can help.

Alyssa is Banyan’s Director of Digital Marketing & Technology. After overcoming her own struggles with addiction, she began working in the treatment field in 2012. She graduated from Palm Beach State College in 2016 with additional education in Salesforce University programs. A part of the Banyan team since 2016, Alyssa brings over 5 years of experience in the addiction treatment field.

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