Panic Disorder & Agoraphobia
Panic Disorder is diagnosed in people who have frequent seemingly out-of-the blue panic attacks and are very focused on the potential for the next panic attack. Panic attacks usually begin in adulthood, but some children and adolescents can experience periods of panic as well. Many people don't realize that panic is highly responsive to treatment! I utilize Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, including Interoceptive Exposures and Exposure Therapy, as well as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to address panic for most patients.
Agoraphobia is a disorder in which you fear and attempt to avoid places or situations that may bring on a panic attack. People can have Panic Disorder with or without Agoraphobia. Some commonly avoided places and situations for those with Agoraphobia are:
- Public transportation....subways, trains, buses, planes
- Personal Transportation.....difficulty driving or being a passenger
- Stores....particularly waiting in line
- Large Crowded Events....concerts, sports arenas, festivals
- Waiting Rooms
These avoidances tend to grow over time and can lead to a person becoming entirely housebound. This is NOT because they are afraid, per se, to leave their home but because all of their avoidances restrict their ability to go elsewhere.