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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
You may also experience symptoms similar to those of a panic attack, such as excessive sweating, breathing difficulty, dizziness, diarrhea and chest pain.
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.
Every person faces ups and downs in life, the difference lies in how we deal with the low points of our life. Losing someone you love is probably the saddest experience anyone can go through. Our natural reaction to such a loss is grief. The more significant the loss; the more intense your grief will be. There is no right or wrong way to grieve and everyone grieves in a different way.
However, here are a few healthy ways you can cope with your loss to move on with your life.
1. Build a support system: When you are grieving, you may feel that nobody understands how you feel and would want to isolate yourself. Do not allow yourself to withdraw into a shell and instead build a support system of friends and family who you trust. You could also visit a counselor who is trained to deal with such situations. Joining a support group can also help.
2. Face your grief: Not allowing yourself to grieve can do more harm than good. You can suppress your grief for a short time but you cannot avoid it forever. The longer you avoid facing it, the more difficult it will be. Suppressing grief can also lead to a number of health problems such as depression, substance abuse and anxiety.
3. Look after your health: When grieving for the loss of a loved one, you may not feel hungry and may want to simply lie in bed all day. But you must instead get out, eat right and exercise regularly. When the body is healthy, you not only feel better physically but also emotionally. Avoid turning to alcohol and drugs to lift your mood.
4. Express yourself: Bottling up your emotions is never a good idea. However, sometimes talking about how you feel can be difficult. In such situations, look for alternate means of expressing yourself. For examples, you could try painting or start a scrapbook.
5. Look out for grief triggers: What makes coping with the loss of a loved one difficult is the fact that you share a number of life events with them. Birthdays, anniversaries, holidays and festive occasions can bring back memories of the person and overwhelm you. To successfully heal, you must plan ahead for events like this that will trigger grief. Do not allow yourself to be alone at such times.
6. Seek professional help: Sometimes, when you are dealing with the loss of a loved one, you find yourself sinking into depression or find it difficult to resume your normal lifestyle. It is a good idea to consult a mental health practitioner or counselor.
Depression is a psychological condition, which can develop in men and women of any age. No one can identify the cause of depression. It can be excessive stress, failure in relationships, academic pressure and various other issues of these sorts. But depression in itself is a serious condition and needs to be treated as soon as possible, lest it aggravates.
Before trying to deal with depression through medicines and counselling, it is important to recognise the signs and symptoms of this condition and try as much as possible to come out of it on your own. There are certain natural remedies, which work during the initial stages of depression. It is only when these fail or it aggravates that the patient must be rushed for immediate counselling. Here are certain natural ways of treating depression.
- Sleep well: A sign that you are suffering from depression is lack of sleep. One does not get sleep no matter how hard he/she tries. Even after having sleeping pills, one does not get the correct amount of sleep that he/she requires. This triggers insomnia, thereby causing other health problems to develop. Thus, sleeping is mandatory. If needed, you must force yourself to sleep.
- Eat well: It is often said and seen that depression leads you to binge eat or over eat. Overeating would include indulging yourself to too much chips, chocolates, junk food and the like. This would unnecessarily make you gain extra pounds and can trigger obesity. Alternately, it has been seen that the patient lacks the desire to eat anything. This too can lead to adverse effects as the body balance gets disturbed.
- Exercise: Regular exercise helps in diverting your mind to something else for a little while. It also helps in keeping you fit and healthy. In case you do not like to exercise, you can opt for jogging or running or even simply taking a walk out in the open. Going out and inhaling fresh air, makes you focus on positive thoughts for a while. A daily dose of positive thoughts can do wonders for you.
Experiment with yourself: Try something new each day that you have not tried ever before. This might include cooking, knitting, riding a bike and the likes. This keeps you busy and keeps your mind off the negative thoughts. What’s more, you might discover some of your hidden talents.
These are some of the natural remedies that you can opt for to fight depression before consulting a psychologist for the same.