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What is Agoraphobia? How do we deal with it? Mental Health Help with Kati Morton
Today, I'm going to talk with you about agoraphobia.
What is it? And how do we work on it if we struggle?
So like I said, today I want to talk with you about
and make sure if you like these types of videos
you give it a thumbs up
and let YouTube know how important mental health is.
What is it?
Many of you have reached out and told me that you struggle with it
or are wanting me to do a video about it because someone in your life
struggles with it and you want to know how to better help them.
So what is agoraphobia?
Well it falls under the category of anxiety disorders
and i'm going to read, obviously, as I always do, from my DSM
It tells us exactly what the diagnostic criteria is
and it says that "agoraphobia is a marked fear or anxiety
about two or more of the following five situations: "
So people are really scared about these
They're either scared of using public transportation,
of being in open spaces,
being in enclosed spaces,
standing in line or being in a crowd,
or being outside of the home alone.
Now they'll avoid these situations because they kind of fear
that escape may be difficult or extremely embarassing.
So they try to not put themselves in those situations,
as you can imagine, because they're really scared
that they wont be able to leave
or if they feel a panic attack coming on, or they feel their anxiety rise
they just can't get out, like they're in an elevator
and they have to wait 'til the next floor 'cause they can't get out in time
and that thought and that worry keep them out of those situations
and for some people can even cause them to be homebound
which can be really difficult.
So I made some notes so that I don't forget what I wanted to mention.
But the people who struggle with this
can also be diagnosed with panic disorder
which I have a video on that. You can click here to check it out.
I'm going to talk about what a panic attack is
and how it's different from just having "anxiety"
and kind of break that down.
But the people who struggle with agoraphobia
can also have panic disorder
but they don't have to.
These aren't the same.
But many people who struggle with agoraphobia
also struggle with panic disorder.
Like I said, they worry about being in an elevator
And, not, feeling okay and feeling really panicked and needing to get out
and not being able to.
And that fear makes them avoid those situations because
nobody wants to have that happen.
So, the interesting thing for me.
I always love hearing, "Who can get better from this?"
"How do people work on it?"
"What's the way that we can overcome it?" because just
knowing we struggle with something isn't enough.
Yes, it's great to put a name to something that we've really been having a hard time with.
But then what?
Okay. So, I have agoraphobia.
Then what? What do I do?
Why did this happen?
And the remission rates of the symptoms, overall symptoms,
every symptom, even that little bit of fear is only 10%.
So we really have to work on this because
it will always kind of be there in the background
but we can better manage it.
Just like we can better manage our panic attacks
and any kind of anxiety we have by different tools
that I'll talk about at the end.
So, unless agoraphobia is treated,
people only get into remission at 10%.
That's if you haven't gotten treatment, okay?
So getting treatment is very important.
And if you do, remission rates go up.
So what causes it?
Just like most mental illnesses we don't really know for sure.
Like I always say, we can't really test it. We don't know.
But they suspect that having a panic disorder and other phobias
can really play a role in us struggling with agoraphobia.
So if we already -it's almost like some of the other videos I've created
and things that I've talked about, whether it be stuttering,
or any kind of neural development disorder,
if we struggle with another one of those, in that same classification,
so for agoraphobia, any anxiety disorder makes us more predisposed
to struggle with agoraphobia.
And so, there are also other genetic components.
61% of, -it's a, it's the percentage of you, -the chances of you having it [sic]
if someone else in your family has it.
That's a pretty high percentage.
It's more than 50% likely that you're going to have it.
So it increases your chances.
So if someone in your life has agoraphobia,
it might be good, when you are getting older and you start feeling like
maybe you struggle with anxiety, to reach out for help sooner rather than later
because I don't want us to have it get so bad
that we're stuck at home, that we feel like we can't leave, everything's really hard.
The sooner we get help, the better.
So if you are struggling, reach out.
I promise, there are tons of physicians and therapists and psychiatrists
and psychologists and all sorts of people in the field
that can help you, okay?
And so it's kind of inherited.
And there can also be some environmental issues they say
can lead to it.
Having some experience with some really scary and negative events in childhood
that they talk about everything from abuse of any kind
to witnessing scary events or having PTSD situations come up in childhood.
All of that can make it harder for us and make us more
predisposed to struggle with agoraphobia.
They even talked about losing a parent at a really young age.
If that happened in a really traumatic way
and a really quick fashion,
that that can also lead to it.
So what do we do?
Like I said, a lot of times we know we have things.
"Okay, great. Awesome, now I have a name to call that
feeling that I've been having forever. Now what?"
What are our treatment options? And there are a lot out there.
Like I said, reach out. Get help. Because if we don't, remission rates are very low.
The number one, ta-da! You're looking at it. Psychotherapy
"How does that make you feel?"
And the reason that they say that this is so great,
and obviously, as with all anxiety disorders,
CBT is best.
I have a video on it.
If you want to watch it, you can click here and check it out.
But it works to change faulty thinking, -as you'll see in my CBT video-
and correct firmly held beliefs that are hindering your life.
The firmly held belief here would be something to the effect of,
"If I can get out and it's really embarassing
I'll never live down the shame."
or it could be anything related to the anxiety.
Like if I get out and I'm in an elevator
I'm gonna have a panic attack. That's gonna happen.
Any belief like that. If I try to drive my car over a bridge,
I'm gonna have a panic attack and I'm gonna fly off the bridge
and I'm gonna kill myself.
There can be all sorts of these beliefs that you don't even recognize
are happening or that the thoughts are even there.
But being able to talk about it and work on it in CBT
because they have you write down all those thoughts and record them,
can help us better notice them and manage them and overcome them.
So CBT is best.
It says, "You can slowly learn that
your fears are very unlikely to come true,
and if you're worried about getting out of the house to see a therapist
-it's very important, I have it highlighted with an asterisk, and everything-
They're worried about getting out of the house so like,
"Kati, I can't reach out for help because I can't get out of the house."
Most therapists who work with people with anxiety disorders,
will come to your house! They make house calls.
It's part of what they do.
It makes sense, right? Because if we're really struggling,
they're gonna have to come to us.
Okay. The second thing is medication.
And it's the obvious ones that I always bring up
antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications like
benzodiazepines, that's like Xanax, and all those different kinds of medications
and I'm not a doctor so don't ask me about medications
because I only know what they recommend and then I write them down
with my clients and then I talk with their psychiatrist.
But medications can help us sometimes just get out of the haze or the water
or whatever we feel we're in.
If we feel like we're drowning in it,
can help us get our head above just enough
for us to participate in therapy.
Because sometimes, we're so overcome with anxiety and worry
about the agoraphobia and worry about being somewhere
and worry about getting help, and that worry
stops us from even being able to do anything.
We're like frozen.
You ever felt like paralyzed by fear, or worry, or anxiety? [sic]
Like, "I can't even -I don't know where to start. Ah!"
It's overwhelming. And so medication can sometimes help us get there.
Where then, we can start working on things.
It doesn't mean you have to stay on it forever.
I have many clients who have gone on it and then gone off.
And so, it's up to you. Talk to your doctor.
Tell them what your concerns are.
Worries about side-effects or staying on it forever.
Whatever your concerns are bring 'em up!
There are a lot -there -you're -totally willing [sic]
and it's totally reasonable to have worries and concerns and questions
when you see your doctor.
And the benzo's.
I know everybody's like, "Oh, but I'm gonna get addicted and ahh
-I don't really like that."
Those are like fire extinguishers.
We have a fire. We're gonna have a panic attack.
We're already out in public. We have to be here for work or whatever.
It's your sister's birthday. You promised you'd go.
Whatever it is it doesn't matter.
But that fire is ignited and we need a fire-stopper
and Xanax can be great for that.
Don't use it all the time.
Only use it when you have a fire, okay?
I call them fires. It helps me visualize.
I like that. "Put it out! No. No more."
So those are great things for, you know, short-term basis, for situations,
and I think the overall thing that I want to get across to you
is that if you're having a hard time,
if your anxiety's getting worse,
even if it doesn't have to necessarily do with agoraphobia,
please reach out for help!
Please share this video! Please let people know they're not weird,
doesn't make you a freak, it's not something that doesn't happen.
There are a lot of people who struggle with this
and if we don't get help, if we don't reach out,
only 10% of us will get better!
I don't like those rates. Do you?
No. That's not good.
So share. Talk about it.
Reach out because it can get better.
Therapists can come to your house. There is help available.
And even online, even talking about it, venting about it can be helpful.
So reach out. Share this video. Share the information.
Know that it can get better and we will keep working together
towards a healthy mind, and a healthy body.
Subtitles by the Amara.org community