The Agoraphobia is a disorder that comes from the sum of the Greek words “agora” (Public Square) and “Phobia” (fear). The DSM IV-TR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) diagnostic manual defines agoraphobia as “the anxiety to find oneself in places or situations in which the escape may be difficult (or embarrassing), or in which it may not have help is available in the event of an unexpected or situationally predisposed panic attack. Common situations include being home alone, going out into the open, or waiting in line . Also crossing a bridge and traveling by car, bus, train, or plane. ” .
Depending on the severity of the disorder, many people stop going to places where there may be a lot of people, such as cinemas, shopping centers or means of transport. In the most severe cases, people suffering from agoraphobia can be without leaving their home for many years as they are afraid of open spaces.
The environment close to the person suffering from agoraphobia can do a lot to reduce the symptoms of anxiety, however, a dependency relationship should not be created since the agoraphobic has to be able to lead a normal life without help from anyone. With great patience, the assistant should make an effort so that the person suffering from the disorder tries to overcome their fears and face uncomfortable situations by following the following guidelines:
– Show him that you trust his abilities . The most important thing is to have blind trust in the other person. You must not stop repeating that you believe in her and that you are sure that sooner or later she will overcome her fears. Likewise, you must be very consistent with what you agree with the person suffering from agoraphobia, if you stay for an hour you must be there five or ten minutes before so that he has no doubts.
– Do not blame the person suffering from the disorder for being afraid to go out . If you maintain a relationship of nature that is with these types of people, you will probably have to stop doing many activities that you normally do in your normal life. Under no circumstances should you blame him for not being able to visit places where there are many people or open spaces that can overwhelm him since guilt is a useless feeling that will only delay his evolution. Remind him that there are many other options and that you don’t mind making different plans.
– Congratulate him on his progress . Reinforce his achievements and do not remind him of his blocks since he will know himself that he has failed and does not need to be repeated. Understand that agoraphobia is a very complex disorder and that progress in it is complicated.
– Make him take it with humor . Humor is a key element to overcome this problem, try to make sure that certain situations are not taken too seriously so that in this way their fear can disappear.
– Respect above all . At all times you must respect the disorder of an agoraphobic. You must unconditionally accept the person and never judge them. If you feel accepted, your pressure will decrease and you will feel more comfortable. In the same way, you should never pigeonhole that person, do not offer him only plans that you know to which you know he will say yes. Although it is very likely that if you propose to go out to a place full of people, he will give you a negative answer, do not stop trying because if not, he will never contemplate this option.
How to deal with a panic attack
If the person suffering from the disorder is the victim of a panic attack, it is essential that we know how to solve this situation in the best way possible. Naturalness is a key element , do not allow yourself to be infected by fear and try to distract the other person by telling them anecdotes or asking their opinion on a specific topic so that they focus their attention on another matter. Physical contact is also very important, when a close person panics about going out into open spaces, you can calm their anxiety by hugging them, holding their hands or giving them a caress. If it is an extreme case, help him control his breathing. Put your hand on his diaphragm and help him control his rhythm. You should always breathe through your nose and your inspirations should be relaxed, never too fast or too deep.