Treatment for agoraphobia is often given to sufferers depending on the level of the condition and when it is diagnosed. Interestingly, agoraphobia, similar to other types of phobias, is treated and diagnosed when a person seeks treatment for some other emotional or medical problem instead of the main reason why care is often sought.
Just like other kinds of mental disorders, there is no specific test to diagnose agoraphobia. The psychiatrist will just take a history, refer or perform another physical exam, or order some laboratory tests if ever they are needed. If the patient has another medical condition, the signs and symptoms may overlap and this can cause confusion. In order to determine the causes of agoraphobia, a clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, or other mental health professional is needed.
In diagnosing agoraphobia, a medical professional will most likely ask some questions in order to make sure that the anxiety of the patient is really a result of a certain fear of being in conditions which make it difficult, embarrassing, or impossible to escape instead of it coming from another emotional problem. For instance, the fear of being close to people which will remind one of past memories is a case of post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.
How is Agoraphobia Treated?
There are different treatments used for agoraphobia and this includes certain types of psychotherapy coupled with some effective medications. A kind of psychotherapy called cognitive behavioural therapy that focuses on lessening the anxiety-provoking, negative, and other self-defeating ideals and behaviours has been proven to be highly effective when it comes to the treatment of the symptoms of agoraphobia. The truth is that when agoraphobia is coupled with panic attacks, cognitive behavioural therapy, whether coupled with medication or not, is said to be the most effective method in relieving the symptoms and also preventing their relapse. It was also found out that patients respond in the same way when they are treated with brief courses of cognitive behavioural therapy or with a group cognitive behavioural therapy. For people who live in areas which are far away from mental health professionals, psychotherapy for the treatment of agoraphobia has also been proven effective if it is given over the power of the Internet.
Another kind of therapy used for the treatment of agoraphobia which has been found effective in many patients is called self-exposure. During this kind of intervention, the person will be asked to either put him or herself or imagine certain situations which can cause the increased levels of anxiety that happens in agoraphobia. By the use of relaxation techniques, the person will then be able to master and conquer the anxiety gradually. As individuals can now gain access to the World Wide Web, there has also been reported increasing evidence that this exposure therapy may be given effectively using this specific medium.