Agoraphobia treatments include a wide range of possible medication usage coupled with either behavioral therapy or cognitive therapy. Of all these choices, behavioral therapy is the one I’ve actually seen work wonders and so it is the one I generally use to help others trying to overcome agoraphobia.
This is not to say I believe medication to be of no use. In fact, I believe the opposite. However, the kinds of medications being used change frequently and not being a doctor, I am loath to prescribe any. Also true about medication is, They are used to make the nervous illness manageable while the patient is recovering. The medications in themselves are not agoraphobia cures. This is much the same as a patient being prescribed pain killers while recovering from a broken leg.
The Advantage to Behavioral Therapy
Behavioral therapy holds the real cure for agoraphobia because while agoraphobia patients are generally panicked when they are outside their homes, this therapy gives them a pleasant experience outside their homes. With behavioral therapy, a patient is accompanied while leaving the house, sometimes at a rate of one step further each day. The turnaround happens when the patient becomes impatient with this slow rate of progress and forces the issue.
When this happens, the therapist tries to keep the patient from progressing further. At this time, a role reversal of sorts takes place and the cure is near as the patient is emboldened to leave home for longer periods of time. At this point, he/she generally becomes interested in visiting more places as well.
Overcoming Agoraphobia Involves Doing
Medication could not achieve a thought process change of this kind. There simply is no pill which encourages the patient to change his or her thought process or physical activity desires. Cognitive therapy is very helpful in anxiety disorders such as depression because this therapy helps the patient react positively to thoughts he or she used to react negatively to.
However, agoraphobia is an illness which actually involves physically doing, or not doing things. So, behavioral therapy holds great promise because this therapy gives the patient true hands-on experiences. The kinds of experiences only a non-agoraphobia sufferer could have. Even if the confidence brought on by this experience is short lived, the next lesson will bring more anti-agoraphobia experiences and more confidence.
If the therapist takes his/her time and doesn’t force the issue sooner or later the patient will want to go it alone. The therapist must refuse to let the patient go alone until the patient absolutely begs or revolts altogether. When this happens the patient is cured of the agoraphobia even though some anxiety disorder may linger.