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Agoraphobia can be defined as the fear of being in a situation from which one cannot escape or a situation that humiliates the person. This causes people to avoid situations that they anticipate to be humiliating. Such a situation makes the person feel trapped and helpless. Everyday situations like standing in a queue, getting into an elevator, using public transport etc. can trigger Agoraphobia.
Agoraphobia affects more women than men. It usually affects people under the age of 35, but can sometimes affect older people as well. Having a relative in the immediate family circle that suffers from this condition can also increase a person's risk of suffering from it as well. Additionally, the death of a parent or loved one or domestic abuse could also trigger such behavior. Depression and alcohol or drug abuse could also increase a person's risk of suffering from this psychological disorder.
This phobia usually develops after a person experiences panic attacks or goes through an extremely stressful experience. Some typical symptoms of Agoraphobia include:
- The fear of being alone
- Fear of crowded places
- Fear of being in locked places from where you cannot escape
- Fear of losing control of one's actions
- Inability to leave the house alone
- Being overly dependent on others
An in depth interview with a counselor or doctor can help diagnose such a condition. A physical examination can also help rule out other health conditions that could be triggering such a reaction. To be diagnosed with Agoraphobia the patient needs to present at least two of the below symptoms:
- Severe fear of public transportation
- Fear of being in an open space such as a parking lot or mall
- Fear of being in closed spaces such as movie halls or elevators
- Fear of standing in line
- Fear of being in a crowd
- Fear of leaving home alone
Treatment for such a condition involves medication and psychotherapy. Anti depressants and anti anxiety medications are commonly used to treat such disorders. There are a number of different types of such medication and you may need to experiment with them before finding one that suits you. Psychotherapy or talk therapy focuses on cognitive behavioral therapy that reduces anxiety symptoms and teaches patients how to deal with fears. If you fear leaving the home alone, you could take someone along with you or consult a therapist who can offer you telephonic advice, through email or meet you at your home.
The symptoms caused due to herniated disc can be very severe and can also cause a bit of disability. The disc of the spine is like a cushion and separates the set of bones on the backside. The discs are shock absorbers of the spine and are mainly composed of 2 parts, a soft jelly centre called the nucleus and a tough outer covering called the annulus.
Effects of Herniated Disk
A herniated or cracked disc is a severe condition and it seems to happen most commonly in the lower back. It happens when a fraction of the soft centre gets pushed through the destabilized area due to degeneration, trauma or by putting pressure on the spinal cord.
Nerves are located precisely at the back of every disc and are responsible for controlling everything in our body. While a disc gets herniated, the external covering of the disc tears and creates a bulge. The soft jelly gets shifted from the centre of the disk to the region where the damage has occurred on the disc. Most commonly, the bulge occurs in areas where the nerve is located and it causes strain on the affected nerve. It has been observed that individuals do not feel any painful sensations even if their disc gets damaged.
When is Surgery Recommended for Herniated Disc?
Surgery for herniated disc is recommended only after options like steroid injections, pain relievers, exercise and non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs do not work. If the pain persists even after these options, then it becomes important to go for surgery. There are certain risks involved in this surgery like infection, bleeding or nerve damage.
There are chances that the disc may get ruptured again if it is not removed. If you are a patient suffering from degenerative disc disease, then there are chances that problem occurs in other discs. It is very important that a patient maintains healthy weight to prevent any further complications.
The main factor that increases the risk of herniated disc is excess body weight, which causes a lot of stress on the lower back. A few people become heir to a tendency of developing this condition. Even individuals with physically demanding jobs are prone to this condition.
Activities like bending sideways, pushing, twisting, repetitive lifting can increase the risk of a herniated disk. At times, emergency surgery is also required to avoid paralysis in a patient. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!