What is Agoraphobia?
Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder whereby people fear and avoid being in situations where they might feel in need of help without the ability to get it. It is quite a complex condition that goes far beyond simply not wanting to go outside or the fear of open spaces, which it is generally associated with. Commonly avoided scenarios include: leaving your home, being in crowded places (e.g., busy shopping areas), being further away from home, and using public transport, especially alone.
Precisely what someone with agoraphobia is worried about will vary from person-to-person, although it is often linked to an intense fear of experiencing a very strong episode of anxiety or a panic attack.
People with agoraphobia often (but not always) experience symptoms of a panic attack once a stressful situation has been triggered. Symptoms of a panic attack include: a sense of losing control, feeling hot; faint, dizzy, light headed, increased heart rate, trembling, shaking, faster breathing and can even make you feel or be physically sick.
As a result, people with agoraphobia, quite understandably, avoid triggering these feelings. However, this can have a really negative impact on their lives.
Do I have agoraphobia?
You may have agoraphobia if some of the below resonate with you:
Symptoms of agoraphobia:
Physical symptoms include:
The physical symptoms of agoraphobia usually only occur when you find yourself in a situation or environment that causes anxiety. However, many people with agoraphobia rarely experience physical symptoms because they deliberately avoid situations that make them anxious.
The physical symptoms of agoraphobia can be similar to those of a panic attack and may include:
• Heart palpitations
• Rapid breathing (hyperventilating)
• Feeling hot and sweaty
• Chest pain
• Difficulty swallowing
• Feeling dizzy
• Ringing in the ears
• feeling faint
Cognitive symptoms include:
• Thinking you will not be able to cope outside
• Thinking that you cannot go anywhere alone
• Fearing that you are going to die, will not be able breathe, are going to have a heart attack, and / or are going to lose control in potential trigger situations (often outside of the home).
Behavioural symptoms include:
• Avoiding situations, you think will bring on an attack, such as outside your home.
• Taking measures to be able to prevent or manage an attack, such as always carrying water, or tablets, lying down / not standing up, holding tightly onto something to keep you steady.
Online therapy and treatment for agoraphobia:
The good news is there is there is a good evidence base for psychological therapy in helping people overcome this difficulty; lots of research conducted on the best ways to treat individuals with agoraphobia (with and without panic disorder), especially using a CBT model. EMDR, ACT and CFT can also be helpful in managing agoraphobia.
At Counselling Psychology Online, many of our online therapists are trained in these approaches and have several years’ experience in helping people manage their anxiety. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to arrange an initial assessment session.
You may also wish to look at our resources page for further ideas of getting help to manage your anxiety underpinning agoraphobia.
Find some answers below to some of our most asked questions. For any further information regarding our Online Counselling, CBT and Psychology sessions for agoraphobia, or to find out anything further about Counselling Psychology Online, please do not hesitate to email email@example.com or telephone 07584 328192.
How do I get assessed for Agoraphobia?
The first step is to contact Counselling Psychology Online by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 07584 328192. We can then set up an initial assessment session, where you can discuss your difficulties and, if appropriate, a treatment plan with a qualified practitioner.
I have been referred by my private healthcare insurance to receive therapy for agoraphobia, which insurers do Counselling Psychology Online work with?
We are registered providers of online counselling for agoraphobia with Aviva, AXA PPP, Bupa, Cigna HealthCare, Healix, Vitality Health and WPA Healthcare, amongst others.
Please do ask if you are covered by alternative insurance provider as some simply require patient details before we are able to register with them.
How many sessions of Agoraphobia therapy will I require?
Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question. Everyone is different and therefore the time taken to overcome the fears associated with agoraphobia will vary from person to person. In some cases, 6 sessions will be ample, but in others it could be 30 or more. Before we start any treatment plans, you will be offered an assessment session. After this, we should be able to make a good judgement on how many sessions may be required. Throughout the therapy, this may be adapted according to progress.
Do you have questions?
It's not unusual to have questions about what type(s) of therapy may be suitable for you.
We're here to help. Please don't hesitate to get in touch so we can discuss what might help you.
Types of Therapy
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
- Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR)
- Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT)
- Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
- Enhanced Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT-E)
- Person-Centred Therapy (PCT)
- Psychosynthesis Therapy
- Transactional Analysis Therapy (TA)
- Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT)
- Mentalization Based Therapy (MBT)
- Structural Clinical Management (SCM)
Coping with Agoraphobia with Counselling Psychology Online
Here at Counselling Psychology Online, we provide bespoke online therapy for those suffering with Agoraphobia.