How to Avoid or Detect Agoraphobia After Quarantine
The global pandemic, necessary quarantine, and resulting economic hardships have caused significant mental health issues in people everywhere. Whether you already live with a mental health condition or not, you could develop symptoms like low mood, anxiety, or fatigue.
The nature of the pandemic and resulting quarantine could also cause some people to develop agoraphobia. Understanding what this disorder is and its risk factors can help you notice the signs. You can get help quickly if you or someone you love develops agoraphobia as social distancing measures lift.
Understand What Agoraphobia Is
Many people mistakenly believe that agoraphobia is the fear of leaving one’s home due to portrayals in popular media. Some people with this phobia indeed fear to leave home. However, the disorder is much more complex than that.
People with agoraphobia are afraid of any situation in which they may feel trapped or anxious. This fear often makes people with the disorder anxious to be in spaces that are crowded, too open, or difficult to escape. For example, people with agoraphobia may avoid long lines or public transportation. The fears are made worse by the idea that they could have anxiety in a public place without a discrete way to get help.
Know the Signs and Risk Factors of Agoraphobia
There is no single cause for agoraphobia. As with many mental illnesses, a combination of factors may put someone at risk for developing agoraphobia. You may be at increased risk of developing this disorder if you:
- Live with other phobias or anxiety disorders
- Have recently experienced a traumatic event
- Are generally a worried person
- Are a woman, particularly under the age of 35
- Have a biological relative with the disorder
While these risk factors make agoraphobia more likely in a person, anyone can develop this disorder.
How Quarantine Could Trigger Agoraphobia
When COVID-19 came to the United States, the fear of going into public spaces came with it. However, this is not the same as agoraphobia. With agoraphobia, the anxiety must be an outsized response to the situation. When it comes to a global pandemic and an unknown disease, some fear is healthy and reasonable.
As social distancing measures lift and going out becomes a little safer, the fear of going into places you cannot control could linger. People who already live with anxiety disorders could be particularly at risk for developing agoraphobia after quarantine ends.
How Online Therapy Can Help
Therapy is one of the most effective ways to treat agoraphobia. Sometimes, people with agoraphobia also need medication as part of their care plans. Unfortunately, seeking in-person care for agoraphobia almost always involves facing a fear and possibly having a panic attack before even getting to the office.
Online therapy and psychiatric appointments can help. Without leaving the comfort of home, people with agoraphobia can get the care they need. If you or someone you love shows signs of agoraphobia as quarantine ends, be sure to contact us for help.