Your life is going along the normal path that you’ve set out when suddenly without any warning terror has you in its grip. You feel weak and helpless. Your heart’s pounding and you have trouble breathing. You may even wonder if you’re having a heart attack or if you’re about to die. When you finally go to see a doctor, you might even be told there’s nothing physically wrong with you.
So when you next suffer from an attack you wonder what’s wrong with you. You find that certain situations will bring on these frightening attacks and this will be your first clue that you’re experiencing a panic attack. Panic attacks are not physical conditions, and that is why your doctor might have had trouble diagnosing your complaint.
So, what is agoraphobia you might ask? This is a condition where an individual doesn’t wish to go places or face situations where they could become exposed to panic attacks. The very word agoraphobia itself lets us know the nature of this debilitating condition. ‘Agora’ comes from the Greek language and it means places where people meet, or a marketplace. ‘Phobia’ is a fear of something. Thus we can understand that people who suffer from agoraphobia have a fear of being in crowded places.
Agoraphobia is a condition that develops gradually. In general it occurs after a panic attack. After the first attack you may subconsciously be preparing for another attack and fearing the symptoms that will leave you feeling helpless. This cycle of panic attack and impending panic attack can cause you to change your entire lifestyle just to avoid those feelings of terror. As panic attacks can occur anywhere at anytime, we generally associate the first place that we feel helpless as perhaps the reason for our terror.
An agoraphobia sufferer will go out of their way to avoid those places and situations where a panic attack may occur. They may even end up being housebound as they avoid being in crowded places. This unhealthy lifestyle can in itself trigger agoraphobic attacks to occur in everyday normal situations. The increased heart rate may also cause a panic attack because you may think that you’re having a heart attack.
As you can see this is a vicious and extremely debilitating mental condition. For sufferers of panic attacks they should seek the medical aid of doctors who specialize in these mental disorders and receive treatment before their panic attacks spiral into agoraphobia where they may end up being restricted in their lifestyle due to their ever increasing fear of being helpless in the face of a panic attack.