Monday, April 23, 2012


When you know someone who has agoraphobia what are your thoughts about this person and that behavior?Do you think it is a question of mind over matter? Do you think the person is too lazy to work or be involved in the outside real world? Do you think that he/she is something of a drama queen and does this to get attention? What is agoraphobia? No it is not about spiders. (I was told that more than once) Panic disorder with agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder in which there are repeated attacks of intense fear and anxiety, and a fear of being in places where escape might be difficult, or where help might not be available.... My son has agoraphobia. He has been home bound for 4 years. Some people have it for longer periods or shorter ones. No set rules. My son tried for years to get mental health help but we all know how that works. Reagan started this cutting down on mental health when he did not truly believe that the psychiatric profession was so needed. (Instead he and Nancy consulted psychics) Since then many mental health clinics have opened and closed due to lack of funding etc... It was 6 months ago that he found a place with a psychiatric and counselors who would come to the house and work with him. Before that we both contacted psychiatrist who absolutely refused to come to the home. "We will meet you at the library" was one answer. What part of agoraphobia do you not understand? If he could go to the library he would nOT need your help. This team has worked with him non stop with 2 or 3 visits a week. First you need to calm down so you do not have panic attacks on and off during the day even in your house. You need to get over the fear that some stranger will walk into that door and you will need to talk to them. You need to be able to talk to a plumber, electrician who NEEDS to come in. It is a very long period to get over the fear. Fear and dozens of phobias. For instance a fear that if you go into that 7/11 there will be a robbery and you will get shot by the robber. Sure we read about this every day but what is the chance that it will happen to you? Reality is out the window when you are giving in to that kind of fear. The good news now is that he has first of all been able to talk to the people next door, he saw me talking to the girls and he came over and joined in and started to laugh. I could not believe it. He seemed extra calm. Slowly more visits back and forth and now he can't wait to see them and go for a talk. After that event he fixed his cars, one inherited from his wife and one I gave him when my husband stopped driving. So now every day he gets into the car and drives a few blocks, next day a few more and last night he drove at night for a mile or so, came into the house shaking but he had finished another goal. Agoraphobia does take time to be conquered. Does take a team who can help and cares for you. Does take understanding. Do not ever think that this is something one would invite to happen to them. Try and understand that this is a serious mental issue. Help the person in every way you can. Do become enlightened and do not say like the TV man did: "Oh, man, you are so lucky, you can just stay home and not have to go to work" The man actually said the word "lucky!" If you know someone with agoraphobia read a few articles on it and for heavens sake know that they are not so lazy they do not want to work. My son is taking classes at home and has a 3.97 average out of 4.00 He will have his associates degree next May and hopes to continue after that. He picked psychology as he does know how it feels to need mental health care. I know he will be terrific at it. He is caring and smart. Oh well, I am his mother, I think he is terrific!

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