What is Agoraphobia?

Agoraphobia is not, as many believe, just about being confined to the home. It can affect people in many ways and can include an intense fear of being in any place or situation where the sufferer feels trapped or unsafe. Someone with agoraphobia might fear:

  • travelling on public transport
  • visiting crowded areas
  • being out of their comfort zone
  • leaving home alone
  • open/enclosed spaces

When someone with agoraphobia finds themselves in a stressful situation, they will quite often experience a panic attack. This can result in the sufferer avoiding situations that might bring on another terrifying attack. Agoraphobics are quite often afraid of losing control in certain situations and being negatively judged by others.

How does Agoraphobia start?

Agoraphobia usually begins with a stressful/traumatic event(s). This or these event(s) trigger The Fight or Flight Response as the brain tries to protect from a similar event recurring. Consequently, this can then lead to avoidance until many situations and places are feared and/or avoided so much by the sufferer that they find themselves being trapped at home.  

Overcoming Agoraphobia

The great news is that agoraphobia, like any other phobia, can be completely overcome. To start with, it is vital to address and alter your perception of the event or events that created your phobia in the first place.  Understanding what actually happened to trigger your fear is the key. No one is born with agoraphobia, so when and what happened that started to change your perception of going outside? Recognise that the behaviour you have created to keep you safe from perceived danger is in fact stopping you from living a happy and fulfilling life.  

You might like to use our timeline to help you find the origin of your agoraphobia so you can start to challenge, positively condition and alter the negative schemas (beliefs) you have created.

Living with agoraphobia can be extremely challenging, however, you are not alone. Here at Trauma Research UK, our belief is, ‘it’s not what’s wrong with you, it’s what happened to you’. With this philosophy, we believe that everyone can successfully overcome their mental health issues if given the right help and support. Read more…