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Learning about Agoraphobia Inpatient Treatment Options
Try to imagine how small your world would feel if you were so panic-stricken at the thought of going anywhere that you opt to remain isolated in the only perceived safe space—your home. Imagine the life experiences that would pass you by, or relationships you would never form. Imagine the sense of regret about passing up career moves or major family events. For someone suffering from agoraphobia, this is their reality.
Specialized agoraphobia inpatient treatment can significantly change that sheltered lifestyle through intensive therapy tailored for this debilitating mental health disorder. Prospective patients who are willing to do the work to get better and live a full life will greatly benefit from an agoraphobia inpatient treatment program.
What is Agoraphobia?
The word agoraphobia, translated from the Greek, has a literal meaning of fear of the marketplace. This mental health disorder manifests itself as feelings of extreme fear and anxiety of any situation or place where escape could possibly be difficult, resulting in feeling trapped. Examples of situations that induce such fears are all forms of public transportation—trains, buses, airplanes, subways, elevators, standing in long lines, and being in crowded venues, such as amusement parks, concerts, or movie theaters.
Agoraphobia can be the extension of acute panic disorder, which is characterized by intense feelings of anxiety that appear unexpectantly and result in physical symptoms that mimic a heart attack. As panic disorder evolves into agoraphobia, the anticipation of dreaded panic attack symptoms becomes fixated to the extent that sufferers become afraid to leave the house. However, approximately 1.8 million American adults experience agoraphobia without a history of panic disorder, according to MedicalNewsDaily.
Symptoms of agoraphobia include:
- Irrational feelings of intense anxiety and fear and of being outside the home
- Avoidance of all situations that might provoke these fears
- Feelings of detachment from others
- Becoming housebound
- Becoming dependent on others when exposure to public places is necessary
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Intense feelings of panic when exposed to the perceived threating situation
How is Agoraphobia Treated?
Overcoming agoraphobia involves both specialized psychotherapy and medications. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is especially effective for treating this disorder by focusing on the irrational thought patterns involved. CBT helps the patient, by guiding the patient to challenge the fears, decrease the negative and self-defeating thoughts that provoke feelings of anxiety. CBT teaches skills to better tolerate the objects of their anxiety, resulting in new, healthy thought and behavior patterns.
Exposure therapy is another effective form of psychotherapy that involves facing the fears, by either physical or mental exposure to the negative stimuli. It is possible to use imagery from the Internet for exposure therapy as a first step toward confronting the anxiety producing triggers. With gradual exposure to these situations or places, symptoms can be relieved.
Medications used to treat agoraphobia include SSRI antidepressants, such as Celexa, Lexapro, Brintellix, Zoloft, and Viibryd. In addition, benzodiazepines, such as Ativan or Valium, may also be useful for temporarily treating the anxiety produced by the disorder. Benzodiazepines can lead to physical and psychological dependence and should be carefully monitored by your doctor.
What are the Usual Treatment Outcomes for Agoraphobia Inpatient Treatment?
An agoraphobia inpatient treatment program provides a safe, secure space for patients to gradually overcome the intense fears and anxiety caused by the disorder. This type of residential program is beneficial for those suffering from panic disorder, severe anxiety, and agoraphobia because it involves a high level of care and support as well as specialized therapies.
With intensive professional treatment, people with agoraphobia can overcome it and greatly improve their quality of life. Working with the therapists in both group and individual settings, the patient can learn new skills to promote calm and relaxation when exposed to the fear. Holistic methods, such as guided imagery, meditation, mindfulness, and yoga enhance the effects of psychotherapy. Patients are advised to avoid caffeine, alcohol, and recreational drugs, as those substances can worsen symptoms. They are also advised to practice going to the dreaded place or situations, in small increments, to build up tolerance to the exposure.
Seeking Help at an Agoraphobia Inpatient Treatment Program
The Treatment Specialist connects individuals struggling with anxiety disorders such as agoraphobia and panic disorder to a high quality treatment center. Talk to a Treatment Specialist who will administer a free and confidential assessment that reviews the individual’s medical, psych-social and psychiatric history. For more information and a free insurance check, call (866) 644-7911.