Treatment for Agoraphobia

The treatment for Agoraphobia mainly includes medication and psychotherapy. The medicines that are often used to treat this condition are:

  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) like fluoxetine and paroxetine     
  • Antidepressants like monoamine oxidase inhibitors or tri-cyclic antidepressants
  • Benzodiazepines (also known as anti-anxiety medication) like clonazepam and alprazolam
It is absolutely essential that you only take the medicines in the doses that have been recommended by your doctor. This is because there are certain side effects that are associated with some of these medicines, such as:  

  • Loss of memory
  • Difficulty in balancing
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Light-headedness
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Sexual dysfunction
The dosage recommended by your doctor may vary, depending upon several different factors. Once the symptoms of agoraphobia seem to be under control, your doctor may also feel that you are ready to stop taking medication.

Psychotherapy or counseling is a very important part of agoraphobia treatment. The type of therapy recommended by most doctors in the treatment for this condition is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Like the name suggests, this therapy has two parts, the Cognitive part and the Behavioral part:

Cognitive Part of CBT

  • This part of the therapy focuses on educating you about agoraphobia and panic attacks, as well as the ways in which you can control them.
  • You will learn about the factors that can trigger off a panic attack or the symptoms of anxiety
  • You will become aware about techniques that can help you cope with the symptoms, like deep breathing, relaxation and so on.
Behavioral Part of CBT

  • This part of the therapy requires you to dispose of unhealthy or unwanted behavior, through desensitization or exposure therapy.
  • This technique gives you the chance to face the situations or places that cause a panic attack, but in a safe way, so that you do not experience the symptoms. Your therapist may accompany you to these places, just to help you feel comfortable and safe.
  • You will be encouraged to go to the places you previous feared, until your anxiety reduces and you realize that you have nothing to be anxious about.