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Agoraphobia Treatments

(Also Known As: Panic Attack Treatments, Fear Of Being Away From Home Treatments)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

What Kinds of Agoraphobia Treatments are Available?

Agoraphobia can be treated by medications, therapies or a combination of both. With the help of these treatments, patients can successfully beat Agoraphobia.

Medications

Medications like antidepressants and anti-anxiety are generally used to treat Agoraphobia. Medications are prescribed to temporarily reduce the symptoms and not to cure the disorder. In addition to medications, which only provide temporary relief, other kinds of treatments may be necessary to effectively find relief.

More often, medications are combined with behavior and cognitive therapy. The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), fluoxetine, paroxetine and sertraline can treat both Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia.

There are also some antidepressants like tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) that can treat Agoraphobia. But TCAs and MAOIs tend to have more side effects that can be serious than SSRIs. 6

Psychotherapy

For Agoraphobia, cognitive therapy gives more advantages as it concentrates on recognizing and changing irrational and dysfunctional thought patterns. With cognitive therapy, one learns what triggers panic attacks and how to cope with these distressing symptoms with the use of breathing and relaxation techniques.

Behavior therapy focuses only on changing the behavior when the agoraphobics confront their fears instead of avoiding them; in this way, it decreases the symptoms of anxiety and lessens the likelihood that the anxiety will come back. This technique helps one safely confront the places and situations that cause fear and anxiety.

Other Treatment

Aside from behavior therapy, cognitive therapy, and medications; there are also some alternative treatments. Some of these treatments are:

Insight therapy

Also known as psychodynamic therapy which helps sufferers remove the unwanted cause of fear and panic by the patient stating his or her thoughts and feelings and then being analyzed by the therapist. Research has shown insight therapy to be less effective for Agoraphobia than most cognitive-behavioral approaches. 7

Hypnosis

One way of treating psychological disorders is through hypnosis. Clinical hypnosis for Agoraphobia is done when the patient enters a relaxed mode in order to connect to the patient’s subconscious mind; since hypnotherapists believe that the cause and amount of fear can be defined subconsciously when a patient is eager to perform hypnosis.

Herbal Preparations

Studies show that Kava Kava and Valerian have components that reduce anxiety which is related with Agoraphobia.

Biofeedback

Another therapy for Agoraphobia is biofeedback in which the patient is attached to an electroencephalograph (EEG). With this therapy option, anxiety symptoms are reduced by controlling brain activity in a conscious manner.

Meditation

Therapist for agoraphobics will sometimes offer meditation as an alternative treatment to help patients feel better. In meditation, one lets go of their irrational thoughts and feelings about past or future events and concentrates merely on the present.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

Introduced in 1989, this latest kind of therapy used to treat Agoraphobia focuses on eliminating negative emotions, like trauma. This therapy is suggested for cases in which Agoraphobia is developed from post-traumatic stress.

Emotional Freedom Techniques

Another form of treatment for Agoraphobia is called the emotional freedom techniques (EFT) which is resultant from an energy healing system called thought field training (TFT). This approach done by a professional will tap on acupuncture meridian points of the patient’s head and chest, while patients will concentrate on specific emotions related with panic. There is no substantial body of research to support its effectiveness. 8

E-therapy

In 2004, a study recommended that E-therapy can be more effective than a live therapist. One example of a software program that can treat Agoraphobia is the “Beating the Blues” interactive software program that offers cognitive-behavioral therapy. Another one is FearFighter. Since cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT is the most effective treatment for Agoraphobia based on research, FearFighter is another way of cognitive behavioral E-therapy for people who suffer anxiety disorders and phobias.

Could You Have Agoraphobia?

Agoraphobia Topics

Related Conditions

Acute Stress Disorder – mental shock, psychological shock. terrifying events, stress, anxiety
Antisocial Personality Disorder – disregard of rights of others, pervasive aggressive behavior, sociopaths, antisocial, conduct disorder, psychopaths
Generalized Anxiety Disorder – irrational worry, anxiety episodes, uncontrolled fear, restlessness
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – obsessive, compulsive acts, intrusive thoughts, anxiety, fear, perfectionist
Panic Disorder – panic attack, anxiety attack, excessive worrying, agoraphobia, anticipatory attacks
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – Nightmares, Insomnia, Sexual Abuse, Irritation, Social Impairment, Problems with Memory and Concentration, Intrusive Memories, Hyper-Vigilance
Social Anxiety Disorder – social phobia, social anxiety, unreasonable social fears, panic attack, agoraphobia, phobia