Can Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia Be Treated? Why There’s Hope for Recovery
Panic disorder with agoraphobia can make your life seem smaller than it is. But once you understand the potential for recovery (in the form of therapy, medication, and a personalized diet, to name a few tools), you will realize how much you’re missing. By harnessing the tools of residential treatment, you can overcome your fears and begin living a more positive life.
I’ve had social anxiety since before I can remember. By my teenage years, this had turned into a full-blown panic disorder. The attacks would hit almost exclusively during social situations, making presentations and parties a nightmare. Eventually, I became scared of so many social situations in my daily life that I became very avoidant. I began skipping class, staying inside as much as possible, and saw my friends less and less. My life became a tiny bubble with room for only two things: me and my fears.
Panic disorder and agoraphobia go hand-in-hand. When you experience panic attacks regularly, they can pave the way to a fear of going to public places. You worry that you’ll have a panic attack at the worst moments—in a meeting, on the subway, in your office. Eventually, these fears can become so intense that you begin to plan your life around them. They begin to dictate your behavior, and your range of experiences becomes smaller and smaller, pushing you into isolation and agoraphobia.
But while hiding might seem safer, you’ll never learn anything about yourself or your fears by shutting yourself off from the world. This is why treatment is so important: in a residential setting, with the help of trained professionals, you will learn of the potential you have to evolve and live the way that you want. As difficult as panic disorder with agoraphobia is, there are many ways to cope with both disorders in a way that gives you a level of autonomy over your life you might never have thought possible. This will help you move toward recovery in order to create a new path defined by positivity and freedom.
The Potential for Recovery Through Treatment
It’s easy to get caught in a negative state of mind when you deal with panic disorder and agoraphobia as co-occurring disorders. Fear and panic seem to dominate any other feeling, trapping you in a world that seems scary and hopeless. Despite these feelings, if you can push yourself to overcome them just long enough to make the initial step toward treatment, you’ll realize that you don’t have to live with them forever.
Some tools you’ll learn to wield effectively in a proper treatment program include:
- Medication. The cornerstone of any treatment program that addresses panic disorder and agoraphobia is mental therapy. Both of these challenges are highly receptive to therapies such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which promotes awareness and acceptance of fear, allowing you to minimize the effects that it has on your body and mind. Other awareness-based holistic therapies like mindfulness meditation and yoga can also play a huge part in your recovery.
- Therapy. If you understand that medications are not a cure, but rather catalysts for change, you’ll see how much potential they hold to help you move forward. For example, beta-blockers can reduce or eliminate physical symptoms of anxiety. This prevents those symptoms from feeding into the cycle of fear that can trigger panic attacks. Benzodiazepines like Xanax, when carefully controlled (in order to reduce their addiction potential and the effects of withdrawal) can be helpful for alleviating both physical and mental symptoms of anxiety in the short term.
- Personalized diet. Constructing a diet that minimizes anxiety can be tough when you’re caught up in the bustle of everyday life. But it can make a huge There are many chemicals and ingredients that can lead to heightened anxiety, including caffeine, wheat bran, and tofu. On the other side of the spectrum, B vitamins, C vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce anxiety.
With time, these treatment modalities will help you pave the path to healing. Through a focus on accepting and understanding the roots of your disorders, you will learn how to live with and control your fears in a positive way.
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Harnessing the Tools of Treatment
A comprehensive residential treatment program provides you with a comfortable environment where you will feel safe in the hands of qualified professionals. Instead of making yourself feel safe through isolation, treatment encourages positivity by giving you the tools to understand your fears. You will also be connected to a peer support network comprised of people who understand your problems because they have similar experiences. Through this understanding, you will learn how to manage your fears and move forward with your life.
The idea of putting myself through a long-term residential treatment program scared me at first, almost as much as the thought of standing on a stage or attending a big holiday party. It turned out to be the safe haven I needed in order to slow down, take stock, and begin to get my panic and agoraphobia under control one day at a time. Finally, for the first time in a long time, I began to feel like myself again, the me I was before I became consumed with fear. For the first time, I had hope.
Bridges to Recovery offers comprehensive treatment for people struggling with mental health disorders and childhood trauma as well as co-occurring substance use disorders and eating disorders. Contact us to learn more about our renowned Los Angeles programs and how we can help you or your loved one start on the path toward healing.