Helpful Tips for People Living with Agoraphobia
Living with agoraphobia is painful, and it is every day. When you feel that you cannot go to certain places because of your crippling fears, your world becomes narrower and narrower. The disorder is not only hard on you but on your friends and family members as well. And while it may seem fine to avoid your fears for a while, eventually they will keep you from being able to easily and happily live your life.
Below are some helpful tips for people living with agoraphobia. There are treatments for the condition, but individuals who are fighting the disorder also need every day actions as well as reminders that they can use to make their lives better and to keep working against the current of their fears. We can help you find treatment. Call 800-598-5053 (Who Answers?) toll free to find help today.
Every Day Tips
Some ways to fight agoraphobia are small, but if you are consistent, they can make a big difference in your life. Because so many individuals are housebound at the worst stage of this condition, you will need ways to fight it whether you are alone or with others, whether it is night or day. That is the only way you can slowly start to get back to living your life your way.
- The NLM highlights “a healthy lifestyle” as one of the ways that you can work toward changing your condition.
- Eat healthy foods.
- It is important that you buy and eat healthy foods, especially if you are homebound. Make sure that whomever brings you your groceries is taking the time to choose food that will stimulate you and make you feel better, not foods that will make you feel sad or, at the worst, physically ill.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Sleep is necessary. Do not treat it as not being a priority because the sharpness of your thoughts as well as your entire body’s health depends on sleep.
- Get exercise.
- Even if you have to just walk around your living room, make sure to exercise for thirty minutes a day. Yoga can be a great form of exercise that also calms the mind and clears thoughts of anxiety.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Sodas and other drinks are fine in moderation but you should drink water more than anything else.
- Do not drink, smoke, or do drugs.
- According to the NLM, many individuals with agoraphobia “use alcohol or other drugs while trying to self-medicate.” This will only make you worse and, in the state you are in, likely lead you toward addiction.
- Eat healthy foods.
- Breathing calmly will help remind you that you are safe and secure whenever you begin to doubt it. It will also clear your mind and help you think more clearly. Panic attacks can often be caused by issues of agoraphobia, or vice-versa. According to the BHC, “Hyperventilation (breathing too fast and too shallow) will make the symptoms of a panic attack worse. Consciously slow your breathing. Concentrate on expanding your abdomen, not your chest, with every inhalation.”
- Keep a journal
- Keeping a journal of your feelings might be very helpful to you, allowing you to have physical evidence of where you’ve been and where you would like to go. No one has to read the journal, but it can often make you feel better to look back at the pages. And, on good days, you can return to the journal and older entries to remind yourself that things got better.
Treatment and counseling can help you learn how to incorporate these tips and other strategies into your life to overcome agoraphobia. Call 800-598-5053 (Who Answers?) for help finding treatment today.
Learning More about Agoraphobia
Learning more about your condition is another way that you can feel more in control of it and learn how to get better each day at a time. The NIMH states that, when you are beginning to notice the issues that could point to panic disorder, you should seek help from your doctor right away. “Your doctor should do an exam to make sure that another physical problem isn’t causing the symptoms.”
If you already know that the issue is agoraphobia or agoraphobia with panic disorder conditions, finding out more about what you’re going through could really help you. According to the BHC, “Overcoming agoraphobia involves understanding how anxiety affects the mind and body.”
Whatever it is that frightens you about open spaces (if it is a vague fear of a specific one), you should take strides to increase your exposure to that fear. Of course, you will want to do so in a way that is controlled and safe, with friends, family members, or trusted caregivers around you. Remember to breathe slowly and to gradually move yourself into the environment.
You will want to increase your exposure slowly, so as not to become overwhelmed or afraid. Your mind will gradually begin to realize there is nothing to fear by a certain place or situation, and you might be able to increase your exposure to places of which you are more afraid. As long as you go slowly and do not try to push yourself to do too much too fast, you will likely feel much better every time you do it.
Talk to Someone
Knowing that a friend or family member can be there for you is so important during this difficult time. Because agoraphobia can often make you feel isolated from others, many individuals engage in “avoidance behavior” to evade interactions, not only with places but people as well (BHC). This is why having at least one person you feel comfortable enough to tell your feelings to is incredibly important. If you have a strong and varied support group, it can be even easier to work through these problems.
Learning how to live with agoraphobia takes time, and many of these tips can help you to control your condition better than you already do. But you must attend treatment in order to truly get better. Treatments like cognitive-behavioral therapy are essential to your recovery because you will need to learn how best to conduct your exposure to the fears you have, what relaxation techniques work for you, and how to understand and control feelings that are distorted. Medication is also usually prescribed for those in treatment for agoraphobia.
Still, these tips can make it easier to live with the disorder every day and give you more tools to help you slowly get stronger.
Formal treatment can help you overcome agoraphobia. Call 800-598-5053 (Who Answers?) toll free for help finding treatment today.