Agoraphobia: Home Is My Solace

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When you are experiencing panic attacks, you have a kind of anxiety disorder that is characterized by repetitive and usually unanticipated attacks. They can be described by the inflicted individual as having a gamut of fears that manifest as scary physical symptoms and devastating thoughts. An example would be a person experiencing shortness of breath, unintentional body shaking, increased heart rate and chest pains during a panic attack.

What’s worse is that the person may not want to be taken to the hospital because he feels more afraid and anxious of the thought that they might have a more severe condition, more so feeling that they might suddenly die in the emergency room.

Despite these frightening symptoms, people who have had panic attacks for quite some time learn to manage and overcome the challenges that they encounter under the circumstances. As of today, health experts have introduced many regimens that assist patients in recovering from their condition. Unfortunately, some of these people cope with panic attack through unhealthy ways, and an estimated one-third of them progress to develop a distinct mental health illness referred to as agoraphobia.

 

Agoraphobia Defined

Agoraphobia is the severe anxiety and fear of experiencing a panic attack. The person involved is worried that he will not be able to manage his attacks if he is not at home or is in another circumstance or location that he is not familiar with. He is very anxious that he might embarrass himself in front of other people, and no one would be there to help him.

 

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Because of the intense anxiety and fear that agoraphobics feel, they often develop avoidance behaviors, wherein they prefer to stay away from specific locations or circumstances that they think will cause their triggers to appear. These behaviors may include fear of getting into a car, plane or other types of transportation, big crowds, or open spaces such as malls. Because of such behaviors, the lives of the people who suffer from agoraphobia may be tremendously limited, to the point that the safest and only comfortable place they want to be in is their home. They would rather feel isolated and lonely and miserable than to experience a bout of panic attack outside of their comfort zone.

However, there are some steps that agoraphobics can take to manage their symptoms.

 

Visit A Mental Health Professional

It may be impossible for them, but yes, agoraphobia is curable. Seeking professional help is the first step to cure. The health expert will review the patient’s symptoms, give an official diagnosis, and formulate a treatment plan. Following the plan religiously has shown positive outcomes and improvements over the years.

Practice Relaxation Techniques

Learning self-help techniques to reduce anxiety can be a big help to agoraphobics, especially because there are several times when they experience panic attacks without warning. Breathing and meditation are some of the methods that are easy to follow and very effective in producing a calming response.

 

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Find Ways To Reduce Stress

Ultimately, stress is the culprit of any individual who is depressed or anxious. And finding ways to alleviate stress would be very crucial in the life of an agoraphobic. It is also vital in improving one’s mental and physical well-being. Exercises like running, working out, and dancing are only some of the many ways to reduce stress. Recreational activities such as watching movies or television, family time, and travel are also very helpful in improving one’s mood and mindset.

 

 

 

Too High, Too Scared To Look Down

 

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One of the most common fears that could strike a person is the fear of heights. Acrophobia, like any other phobias, is one form of anxiety disorder that can be disabling when a person is placed in an elevation that is several feet, or even just a few meters, off the ground.

This can be a disadvantage for people whose jobs require them to be at a certain height. Imagine if you have acrophobia and you work for a company whose office is located on a higher floor of a building, and your workstation is inconveniently situated near the floor-to-ceiling glass window.

 

The Symptoms

Heights are naturally something anyone can be afraid of. Not everyone can stand being way above ground and be comfortable looking down.

the feeling of irrational and paralyzing fear that often leads to panic attacks, causing the person to experience shortness of breath, palpitations or irregular heartbeat, hyperventilation, sweating, nausea, dizziness, and numbness of the knees and legs.

If you feel any of those symptoms whenever you are situated at a high place or just the thought of being at a certain height, then you most likely have acrophobia. lose your sense of balance that you are gripped with the urge to lower your body, often on all fours, and crawl.

 

The Disadvantage

 

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Having acrophobia may pose limitations to your activities and lifestyle. Avoidance of being in a situation you fear may limit your choices, especially with the line of work.

If you wish to be an architect, you may think twice in pursuing your ambition since the work will require you to be on higher levels of a building under construction that leaves you with a clear view of the ground.

There is also the potential of placing yourself or anyone around you in danger. If you are suddenly overcome by fear once you find yourself on higher ground, panicking might be your initial reaction.

 

The Cause

Since being scared of heights may be considered generally normal because high places can be deemed as dangerous and thus triggers natural fear of falling, heightened reaction of that fear. It is also said that it may be a genetic counterbalance to a person’s natural instinct to remove or distance himself from danger.

Like some other phobias, acrophobia might also be the result of a past traumatic experience involving heights. They may have fallen from an elevated platform or have been left hanging from a certain distance above ground for a certain period that the incident has embedded a natural fearful reaction whenever they are placed in a similar situation.

 

The Treatment

deal with the symptoms. As with other phobias, gradual desensitization may be utilized as part of the therapeutic process which involves sequentially exposing you to the cause of your fear.  Since it may be improbable and treacherous to expose a person with “>acrophobia to an actual ledge or any high place, some practitioners use the virtual reality approach.

 

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Cognitive therapy may also help you confront the distorted thoughts that flood your mind whenever you are exposed to heights and may change your behavior towards fear.

There are ways to overcome acrophobia that you don’t have to live with it. Reach out to a specialist and seek help in confronting your fear of heights.

 

 

 

Trapped In A Box: A Look Into Claustrophobia

 

Do you often find yourself in a situation where you feel trapped, feel like the floor is rising, the roof is collapsing, and the walls are closing in on you? This causes you to panic to the point that you can’t breathe as if the air is stuck in your lungs and your head feels like it’s about to explode. Then a hand on your shoulder or a light touch on your arm reminds you that it’s all in your head and that you are actually in an elevator on your way up to the penthouse.

 

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Intense fear of closed-in spaces or crowded places is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly.  There will always be inevitable circumstances where a person will need to be in a place with limited space such as the subway or metro rail train, an elevator, a restroom cubicle, a car, an airplane or a doctor’s clinic. Being claustrophobic can be a hindrance and can affect how a person functions in a usually normal situation.

 

Triggers and Causes

Claustrophobia can be described as a morbid fear of being in confined spaces or small rooms with no immediate access to any means of escape. This anxiety disorder causes a person to perceive that being in a cramped place means they are in imminent danger.

A traumatic experience in the past involving closed-in spaces may be one of the causes for this condition to develop. Experiences such as having been trapped in an elevator for hours, or having been locked in a room by accident or any similar situation may leave a psychological imprint that can result in having an irrational fear.

Not all cases of claustrophobia stem from daunting experience though. Some may be caused by paranoia where a person is deluded with the thought that being in a restricted space puts them in a threatening situation.

 

When Anxiety Hits

A claustrophobic person doesn’t necessarily need to be in a confined space for fear to set in. Just the thought of being in that situation or the mere sight of the triggers such as a car or lift can cause severe anxiety, and the physical manifestations are often disabling.

 

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A person may suffer from any of the sensations known to accompany anxiety such as hyperventilation, palpitation, dizziness or lightheadedness, asphyxiation, chest pains, trembling, sweating, nausea, numbness, and disorientation.

 

Coping Mechanisms and Treatment

There are several therapies available to help deal with claustrophobia and many ways to cope with, one of which is facing your fear. Settle yourself in a place where your phobia is typically triggered while being monitored by a therapist or people you trust. Take even, relaxing breaths and distract your mind with thoughts other than your potential dangers that may arise. This is otherwise known as exposure therapy.

Cognitive behavioral therapy aims to teach you to take control of the negative thoughts that usually plague your mind when fear is triggered. Antidepressants, relaxants and other medications may also be prescribed by a psychologist to help manage the consequences borne out of anxiety.

Taking baby steps is more advisable than rushing into it.

 

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Whenever you feel like you are trapped in a box, do not allow your fear to conquer you. Instead, strive to overcome your claustrophobia.

 

Resources:

 

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/37062.php

https://www.healthline.com/health/claustrophobia#treatment

https://www.nativeremedies.com/ailment/dealing-with-claustrophobia-info.html#close

 

 

 

 

Feeling Panicky? Maybe You Are Not Getting Enough Sleep

 

 

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In today’s fast-paced and connected working culture, people are spending more hours in the office and even still working during holidays, after office hours and weekends, this working habit is creating a toll in people’s sleeping habits. This can be the reason why you suddenly feel panicky or always on edge.

Current research done at Hult International Business School spearheaded by Professor Calpin studies the harmful effect of sleep deprivation to professions. The team examined the sleeping behaviors of 1,000 professionals and its impact on workplace performance. The research findings suggest that the lack of sleep can significantly hinder the ability to perform at its optimal capacity and can lead to damaging physical and emotional effects as well. The findings specified that:

 

Lack of sleep leads to poor performance and productivity

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The study showed that professional respondents average sleeping hours is only six hours and 28 minutes in comparison to the recommendation of American Academy of Sleep Medicine of seven hours sleep each night for healthy adults. The deficit between the actual and recommended might be too minute to matter; however, the survey says otherwise. The respondents reported more reduced performance because of tiredness. Almost 60% admits to having trouble maintaining focus in meetings, longer time to accomplish tasks and harder to brainstorm new ideas. Together with lack of attention and dwindling creative capability, participants indicated less motivation to learn and less ability to handle demands. According to National Sleep Foundation, the workforce allocated an average of 4.5 hours a week on finishing office works at home which might be indicative of a cycle that workers are tired and unproductive at work then they will have no choice but to conclude everything at home.

 

Sleep deprivation affects physical health

 

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Reports of fatigue and tiredness are not a healthy condition and are considered as the typical symptoms of inadequate sleep. The respondents also shared other physical symptoms like palpitations and heartburn. The results are incongruent with many other establish research showing the association between the quality of sleep quality of physical health. In fact, lack of sleep can dampen the immune system thus making one more susceptible to disease. Take, for example; one study stated that people who average less than seven hours of sleep have almost three times more likely to get a standard cold. More important, it is a backed by studies and research that long effects of sleep deprivation include obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

 

Chronic tiredness harms social, emotional and psychological well-being

 

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Some of the identified psychological effects of sleeplessness are memory loss, manic behaviors, hallucinations, and paranoia. A good number of respondents reported that interpersonal aspects are difficult to handle when tired. In addition, frayed nerves, inattention, and moodiness related to sleep deficit can place a strain on the social element in the workplace. Significantly, 84 percent of survey participants feel irritable due to poor sleep, and half of the respondents experience a higher level of stress, anxiety, and feelings of frustration.

Don’t Stare, Don’t Watch – A Look Into Scopophobia

 

Most people dislike being stared at. It’s uncomfortable enough to leave anyone feeling self-conscious and wondering if there is anything on h7yy7his or her face that another person may have noticed. But if there’s actual intense fear involved where a person is afraid of being the focus of other people’s scrutinizing eyes, and it invokes disturbing emotions such as anxiety, then this may very well be scopophobia.

 

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“What is scopophobia,” you might ask. Scopophobia or Scoptophobia is anxiety and social disorder where a person experiences an overwhelming fear of being stared at or watched.

 

How to Spot the Symptoms

So you naturally feel discomfort whenever you draw attention to yourself but if it’s accompanied by an unsettling feeling clawing at you whenever you feel like being you’re watched, then you may be phobic. Your body and your mind’s response to the circumstance may help identify whether or not you have scopophobia.

Once placed in a situation where all eyes are focused on you, you feel unadulterated terror and a wave of irrational panic crashes over you. Your heartbeat races and you start experiencing shortness of breath. The knot in your stomach tightens that you feel like throwing up, and your nerves and muscles are losing sensation. Your mouth becomes dry, your throat constricted, and every part of your body trembles like a gong struck hard with a mallet. You go through a momentary detachment from reality.

When any or all of these symptoms strike at the most inopportune moment all because you see a person’s or several people’s eyes locked on you, then you have scopophobia.

 

Identifying Your Fear and Its Causes

 

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There is no general cause of scopophobia. It differs from every individual. Your fear may have stemmed from a traumatic experience, like being subjected to scrutiny while attempting to speak in public, or someone may have humiliated you in front of so many people that the memory of having eyes on you have left a negative mark in your psyche.

Having low esteem may make you susceptible to scopophobia. The lack of confidence prevents you from looking people in the eye, so you feel incredibly agitated when others look at you.

This phobia may be reinforced by other social disorders such as autism, stage fright or fear, and public speaking. Like any other phobia, scopophobia is often the result of exaggerated thoughts.

 

Is There Treatment Available?

Several methods are available to help treat scopophobia. The most common way is helping people deal with their fear, and this is often done through a series of therapies.

Exposure is one of the most common strategies used in managing most phobias. This involves exposing you to your source of fear. This can be done gradually, increasing intensity as you progress. Your therapist may start exposing you to photographs and videos to train your mind in tolerating situations what triggers your fears typically.

Behavior therapy involves desensitizing from the usual effects of the symptoms.

Hypnotherapy or hypnosis has been used as an efficient way to treat most phobias. The process involves discovering the underlying cause for the fear and eradicating the usual response to the stimuli.

 

source: aviaryrecoverycenter.com

 

Cognitive behavioral therapy is the most practiced form of therapy integrated into a treatment plan for helping individuals deal with phobias.

Energy psychology may be an ideal therapy for individuals suffering from any form of phobia as it follows a rapid and safe process that may have a long-lasting effect. It combines approaches of other therapies with holistic techniques of healing. It has the same groundwork as acupuncture, but no needles are involved.

Scopophobia is a social handicap that prevents a person from socializing. If this isn’t dealt with or you don’t learn how to overcome your fear, it can affect your way of living. You don’t have to suffer the consequences. Help is always available.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Depression Among Millennials: Effects And Management

 

 

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Reports show that millennials are suffering depression more than the previous generations and this condition has a significant impact on their ability to lead and succeed in the workplace. Depression is said to be the leading cause of both absenteeism and presenteeism. In absenteeism, it is causing industries to lose 23 billion dollars in productivity every year. Disregarding the financial losses, what is more, devastating is that almost half of mental health cases are left untreated. When millennials are entrepreneurs or hold managerial and leadership positions, the stakes are higher. The expectations and pressures of leadership can worsen the symptoms of depression. When leaders aren’t able to efficiently guide their teams, the consequences can be colossal.

Experts claim that depression in itself is organic; some factors can intensify episodes and increase its frequency. As millennial leaders, they are seen as the backbone of the organization; the one to act as a support system rather than asking for support. Like any other millennials, they have struggled with regards to financial uncertainty and escalating student loan debts. Also, they are often neglectful of their physical and mental wellbeing. They usually have a poor diet and unhealthy sleeping habits. It has also created some forms of irrational fears that allows the individual to experience symptoms of panic attack and inability cope with certain situations. With top business leaders settling for just 3-4 hours of sleep of night, many millennials feel pressured to follow their footsteps and work more than 100 hours per week to be successful.

Depression is considered severe illness, but the good part is, it can be treated. The following strategies are specifically designed to lessen the impacts of depression on millennial leaders, their businesses and people who rely on them.

 

Absenteeism policies should support seeking help for mental illness.

 

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Depression is considered a chronic health condition with episodes and exacerbations. Individuals who have depression need ongoing care and therapy. Sadly, many companies don’t usually give the same accommodation for persons with mental illness as compared to those who have physical impairments. A fitting example of this is the time off policies. Due to these rigid systems, depressed millennials often force themselves to work to avoid penalties for being absent, but the level of presenteeism is questionable. It is recommended that companies adopt policies that encourage seeking health and productivity.

 

A paradigm shift in attitudes about self-care and wellness

People most especially millennials are given the idea that neglecting their wellbeing in favor of productivity and accomplishment is good quality. An employee who works despite sickness, pulls all-nighters, and eats lunch at the work desk rather than taking the sick days, clocks out on time and taking timely breaks is often labeled as a hard worker and go-getter. Somebody who prioritizes self-care is put in second best at times even seen as weak and not ambitious. The mindset is counterproductive in the long term. Taking care of yourself will result in the lesser likelihood of burnouts, depression, and suicidal ideations. Company leaders and managers should encourage self-care and be vigilant in making sure that employees are not overworked. It is important not to shame and criticize those who have healthy workplace boundaries.

 

Utilizing health techniques like meditation

 

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Most of the time, companies have set up wellness initiative. These initiatives are often related to one’s physical health such as encouraging regular health screenings, healthier food options and incentives on a gym membership. However, these efforts often fail to include depression.  Mindfulness meditation, self-care, and coping strategies are just some of the crucial topics that also needs to be addressed.