How Panic Attacks Lead to Agoraphobia

How Panic Attacks Lead to Agoraphobia

How Panic Attacks Lead to Agoraphobia 2496 1664 Aware Behavioral Health

Panic attacks are some of the most intense mental health events that a person can experience. They have symptoms that include chest thumping and chest pain, trouble breathing, lightheadedness, rapid heartbeat, and many other physical symptoms. They also have psychological symptoms that make this feeling even worse: feelings of doom and fear of death, both of which cause the event to be even more traumatic and terrifying.

We encourage you to read more about the psychiatric treatment for panic attacks, here.

One of the consequences of panic attacks is that many people with ongoing panic disorder begin to struggle with a condition known as “agoraphobia.”

Agoraphobia is best described as a “fear of being out of your home or in a place you’re unfamiliar.” Some people with agoraphobia are still able to go work or the grocery store, but most find that leaving their home or their comfort areas almost always leads to extreme anxiety and panic, so they stay only in the places that they’re comfortable and begin to fear being anywhere else.

The Process That Leads to Agoraphobia

Agoraphobia is a phobia. It can be developed in many different ways. But in the vast majority of cases, psychiatrists can link agoraphobia to panic attacks.

The process for developing agoraphobia is often very linear.

Recall that panic attacks are almost debilitating events. They are terrifying, emotionally draining, and can feel embarrassing. One of the symptoms of panic disorder is the fear of future attacks. It is something that those who experience them will typically do anything to avoid.

Agoraphobia develops because of that fear and experience. A person will experience a panic attack in a public place – for example, a bowling alley – and they’ll begin to associate panic attacks with that bowling alley. So they avoid it. Then they’ll have a panic attack somewhere else, such as a shopping mall, and so they’ll start to avoid the shopping mall.

Fear of panic attacks is also self-triggering. When you worry that you might have an attack, you start to experience anxiety and self-monitoring that can lead to an attack. So if a person is feeling brave enough to try again at a place they avoided before, they’ll be more likely to experience an attack and their fear will be reinforced.

Eventually, they will run out of places to go. They’ll start to fear going anywhere that they don’t have to, and reinforce that fear when they trigger an attack any time they leave the house.

Psychiatric Treatments for Panic Attacks and Agoraphobia

Panic disorder and agoraphobia are not typically disorders that go away on their own. They are self-sustaining in ways that are not easily addressed without some type of intervention. With a psychiatrist, it is possible to start addressing these mental health issues and find some relief. In addition, Telepsychiatry allows you to get that support from the comfort of your home.

Contact us today to learn more about treatment for panic attacks and agoraphobia.

Dallas Psychiatrist Dr. Surin Sehdev

Dr. Surin Sehdev is the lead psychiatrist at Aware Behavioral Health in Dallas (formerly Bedford, TX). He has been working in the psychiatric field for 7+ years. He specializes in opioid withdrawal, ADHD, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and sexual dysfunction. Content on this blog and this website should be considered informal and should not be considered medical advice, as may be written and/or edited by non-medical staff. Please contact Dr. Sehdev for specific and accurate diagnoses and treatment information.

All stories by : Dallas Psychiatrist Dr. Surin Sehdev