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Agoraphobia Essay

1230 words - 5 pages

You know it is coming. No, you can't feel it creeping up on you, but it is there, nonetheless. At any moment, in any place, it could grasp you in its powerful jaws and refuse to release its grip until it has ravaged your mind, leaving you a trembling shell of the person you once were. All at once, almost as if bidden by its all-consuming presence in your thoughts, it is there. Your heart begins racing at an alarming rate. Suddenly, breathing becomes laborious and you feel as if there is not enough air in the world to satiate your growing hunger for its soothing properties. The room begins to spin while you choke, gasp, and tremble. Beads of sweat course in streams down the goose bumps on you arms. Thoughts screech across your terrified mind. Are you going crazy? Are you about to die? Then, as suddenly as it appeared, it is gone, leaving you shaking and heaving, having experienced yet another panic attack . Your only comfort is that you were at home when it happened, though it is unlikely that you would have been anyplace else, given the fact that you have locked yourself away in your home now for the past several weeks for fear that a panic attack might occur someplace where you may embarrass yourself. What is causing this erratic and abnormal behavior? Does terror like this have a name? Yes. That name is agoraphobia.In the past, agoraphobia has commonly been associated with a fear of wide, open spaces.The truth lies much deeper than that, however. Agoraphobia is the fear of having a panic attack at any time and at any place where you might become embarrassed . It is a condition which develops when a person begins to avoid places that have been known to cause anxiety or places where a person has previously had an attack. The idea of having another episode is one which constantly presents itself in the mind of the victim, often causing enough anxiety to bring the attack about. These people begin to associate the panic attack with the place in which it occurred and will often avoid that place until they develop a phobia towards it . When a person begins to avoid almost anyplace and continually stays at home to avoid any situation which might provoke an attack, they are said to have agoraphobia. Therefore, agoraphobia is not so much the fear of open spaces as the fear of a panic attack.There are obvious consequences to this disorder. Being agoraphobic causes a person to miss out on much of life. They become withdrawn and reclusive to the point where they can barely function. They tend to be more emotionally and financially dependent upon others, because they cannot go to work or perform any sort of lengthy task that could conceivably promote anxiety . As with any panic disorder-prone phobias, agoraphobics are more likely than the average person to become addicted to drugs or alcohol. They have a greater risk of suicide, spend more time in the hospital and less on hobbies or other forms of enjoyment, and, if not already living a self-confinement in...

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