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  1. #1

    Claustrophobia and Agoraphobia

    I always believed that claustrophobia was the reverse of agoraphobia(may not be spelt right). according to the list on phobias, treatments etc, it is the same thing??

  2. #2

    Re: Claustrophobia and Agoraphobia

    Close enough. Agoraphobia is anxiety or fear about being away from home, going outside one's home into the world - sometimes called "fear of open spaces". Claustrophobia is a fear about being in enclosed spaces.

  3. #3

    Re: Claustrophobia and Agoraphobia

    okay thank you, i think i "get it" now. they are not the same but the anxiety\panic associated with them IS.
    if i get uncomfortable in a "small" place, the first thing i try do is go OUTside. that is why i was puzzled.

  4. #4

    Re: Claustrophobia and Agoraphobia

    Actually, although the definition provided by Dr. Baxter isn't wrong, I'd like to add a bit to it.

    Claustrophobia is the fear of being in enclosed spaces (such as a small room, a plane, an elevator, etc.), while agoraphobia is the fear of being in a situation where it would be difficult or embarassing to obtain help or get out, if needed. For example, both clients with agoraphobia and claustrophobia may avoid being in a car. However, the REASON for avoiding it is usually what will distinguish between the disorders. Avoiding to be in a car for fear of having a panic attack in it and not obtaining help, in someone who has panic disorder, would be a symptom of agoraphobia. Avoiding to be in a car because it is a small, enclosed space (and usually, especially if one is not the one driving) would be a symptom of claustrophobia. Here are more classic examples :

    Claustrophobics often avoid elevators, planes, and small rooms with low ceilings... they are afraid of being stuck in these places and of not being able to escape if they want to. The very idea of being locked in a closet, or such a small place, triggers much anxiety and maybe even panic in them.

    Agoraphobics often avoid open spaces, but many may also avoid such things as exercise or crowds. Most agoraphobic clients I have seen have panic disorder, and their agoraphobia is in fact a fear of having a panic attack and not receiving help. They may only agree to go to shops or restaurants if acompanied by a "safety person", someone they trust, because they are more confident they will get help from that person if they have an attack. They may also only go shopping if they know the place won't be buisy, because sometimes crowds trigger panic attacks for them. However, it is possible to have agoraphobia without panic disorder. In such case, it is often a fear of being sick, fainting or having bowel movements in public.

    I hope I didn't just make everything more confusing, and I hope it helps!

  5. #5

    Re: Claustrophobia and Agoraphobia

    Thanks JA,
    you didn't make it confusing, for me anyway. I have a tendency to be claustrophobic, but usually can control myself\actions when certain situations arise. i keep hoping as each day arrives, that i will have regained control of "it". For example, Before..... i had little or no trouble going into an elavator, Now! just can't do it at all.
    Thinking on this abit, i also avoid places where there are lots of ppl, e.i: churches, matches, shopping centres etc, is this claustrophobia in action or something else????

    I now avoid a lot of places that previously i wouldn't have. But like i said, i think time will sort it out. I hope!

    thanks for replying.

  6. #6

    Re: Claustrophobia and Agoraphobia

    Hi! Although it's possible that your fear will go away on it's own, generally the odds are much better with therapy... In my practice, I treat many claustrophobics, and in general, a brief, cognitive-behavioral therapy works very well (usually, although not always, clients are free of claustrophobia after approximately seven sessions...). If this is not possible, you may be able to find self-help books on the topic... The idea is that certain behaviors will help to attenuate the symptoms of claustrophobia, whereas others could agravate them. It's good to get an idea of wich behavior helps and wich may be hurting, as this is not necessarily obvious. A therapist may also confirm a diagnostic of claustrophobia, wich may make things clearer if you're still not sure... Anyway, keep me posted on how things go!

  7. #7

    Re: Claustrophobia and Agoraphobia

    Notsure, JA is correct - I was simplifying the distinction somewhat. And actually, what you describe sounds more like panic disorder with agoraphobia than claustrophobia per se. Again, as JA suggests, talk to a therapist about this.

  8. #8

    Re: Claustrophobia and Agoraphobia

    Ja & Db, will be seeing a psychologist tomorow, ( 1st apt since diagnosis with conversion disorder), and depending what time is available\ and or what the session centres around, i will try and get a clearer pic as to which (claustro or agora) phobia i'm dealing with. Given what u have said David, i am now confused as to which one.. lol. have always thought myself it was claustro as my main difficulties would have been, small offices, spaces ect... only looked at other scenarios in hindsight.. Not possible to have both surely... anyway will if possible talk to psych on this.
    let ye know how things go.

  9. #9

    Re: Claustrophobia and Agoraphobia

    Notsure, I hope things go well for you.

    I think this topic is interesting. I did not realize claustrophobia was treatable.

  10. #10

    Re: Claustrophobia and Agoraphobia

    right now i'm trying to what? Control my thinking cause it feels like my chest is being crushed! i lost my hse keys for a while, and i couldn't get out!!! this is hard, trying to concentrate. even tho i have my keys now.. the panic is not really going away.. my breathing is going from being almost normal to rapid.. as if i can't control it.. why am i posting this... as a distraction... i think? god i feel so stupid !!


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