Agoraphobia Agoraphobia is often called the fear of the outside. Agoraphobia is a phobia that is usually associated with a panic disorder or develops from one. The symptoms of agoraphobia are anxiety about being in places or situation from which escape might be difficult or in which help might not be available. This fear comes from the fear of having an unexpected or situation ally predisposed panic attack.
The fears of agoraphobic involve clusters of situations that include being outside the home alone; being in a crowd or standing in line, being on a bridge; and traveling in a bus train or automobile. If an attack occurs, the subject may exhibit signs like fainting, diarrhea, vomiting, difficulty breathing, crying, and freezing. Fear of these symptoms and situations usually cause the person to avoid the situations all together becoming eventually agoraphobic. The causes of agoraphobia are not unlike that of any other panic disorder. The prevalence of agoraphobia is not defined exactly but it is known that between one and two percent of persons that experience panic attacks are diagnosed with agoraphobia.
Causes of agoraphobia are most likely hereditary. First degree biological relatives of individuals with a panic disorder have a four to seven times greater chance of developing panic disorder. Twin studies have also indicated that there is genetic link between agoraphobia and the genes of persons. When looking at the case histories of agoraphobia one particular case comes to mind from a Hollywood production standpoint.
The movie produced in 1994 Copy Cat, starring Sigur nie Weaver. Weaver plays a psychologist that studies the practices of serial killers. Weaver develops the disorder, agoraphobia after a series of panic attacks. A serial killer imitating Ted Bundy stalks her and Weaver's agoraphobia leaves her alone in her own apartment while the killer is in the same domicile. With the stress of the disorder, Weaver' character exhibits the same symptoms of dizziness, freezing, and panic as she tries to escape from her apartment. When treating Agoraphobia the subject can either take medications and or counseling.
Medications that have been used by previous agoraphobics are antidepressants and Benzodiazepines like Prozac, Nop ramin, Paxil, Klonopin, and Ativan. These medications though used in treating Agoraphobia are really for treating Panic Disorder, but since Agoraphobia is so closely related to panic attacks the results are similar. The medications are usually taken for six months then are tapered off and then discontinued. The main treatment though for treating agoraphobia is called exposure therapy. The goal of the therapy is to get the person to confront their fear directly. The first step of the therapy is to treat the panic disorder because most people with agoraphobia have a panic disorder.
Once the panic attacks taper off the person gains the confidence to attack the situations that they fear. When the person reaches this stage then they begin the exposure therapy where they are placed in the situation that they fear. Depending on the subject some of the patients have found that hypnosis, meditation, relaxation, or group therapy is also helpful when coping with the disorder. The reason that I selected this topic is that I always thought that the disorder was interesting ever since I saw the movie Copy Cat. I never researched what agoraphobia was and now that I had the opportunity to do this project. I thought that I should learn something that has puzzled me every time I see the movie.
Aerophobia Aerophobia is known as the fear of flying or fear of air. The symptoms of Aerophobia are quite similar to agoraphobia and other panic disorders dizziness, freezing, crying, and severe distress. The fear flying usually stems from a fear of heights or a fear of dying. In the general population, about one person in three is fearful of flying. Although the statistics are not for the extreme phobics the ratio is very revealing of how many others are also at the least afraid to fly.
The causes of aerophobia are not due to child abuse or any unusual previous circumstances but rather human nature. The idea of not being in control over what happens next and exactly where you are at a given moment (over water, mountains, or desert). Treatments for aerophobia are of wide range and the organizations that provide them. While researching, one organization that I found helpful in my quest for information was SOAR.
Boeing airplane manufacturers sponsors SOAR and along with information on the fear of flying they offered counseling. The counseling consisted of an internet session, cassette tapes, video tapes, and if needed a one on one counseling session could be set up. Depending on the severity of the person s phobia declares what type of medication if any should be taken to conquer the fear of flying. Through research of my own I found that a natural herbal remedy named A kava root relieves excess anxiety.
The natural root helps to relieve any constriction within the circulatory system. The system of the body that is responsible for the freezing and dizziness affects of the persons fear. With more blood being able to flow it allows for more oxygen and cortisol to flow through body. Triggering the fight or flight response of survival. The fight response now able to rear its head tells the person to survive the flight rather than the flight response of freezing or passing out.
In studies done by SOAR it was found among fearful fliers that the highest levels of anxiety occurred during lengths of air travel above water or high altitudes. For those who had no anxiety about flying it was found that fear of missing luggage and missed connections were just as significant sources of anxiety as in-flight events. Of those who were afraid of flying seventy three percent were frightened of in-flight mechanical difficulties. Sixty two percent of bad weather flights, thirty six percent by on ground mechanical difficulties, seventy five percent of over water flights, and thirty six percent of night flights. In a study done by the ORC (Opinion Research Corporation) of 2002 adults the fear of flying was twice as prevalent in women as in men.
The reason for choosing this topic was because it is closely associated with Agoraphobia in that it is also a panic disorder. I found that through researching aerophobia that most us of have it to some degree, though we do not have to be phobic. We all have that deep down thought that something could go wrong over a vast sea, mountain, or desert. When each of us takes our seat in the steel-feathered machine we are all just a little bird in a vast blue sky. American Psychological Association. Diagnostic and Statistic Manual IV.
Washington, DC: APA 1979. Fear of Flying. 1995 SOAR. 5 December 1999 web Health Center. Agoraphobia-Symptoms. 2 December 1999 web Health Center.
Aerophobia-Symptoms. 2 December 1999 web >.