By: Peter James Field
Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder seen often in our hypnotherapy practice here in the UK. In fact, about 5% of the adult population will suffer from an agoraphobia disorder at some time in their lives. In the UK, it is the one phobia that is regularly treated as a medical issue.
As anyone who has ever experienced agoraphobia anxiety or a similar anxiety disorder is only too well aware, it is a condition that has the ability to produce intense and often incapacitating feelings of fear and panic.
Until fairly recently, agoraphobia was defined simply as the fear of open spaces, but the term has now been expanded to include a number of other fears, including the fear of public places and crowds, the fear of travelling alone, or simply the fear of leaving the home or other 'safe' area.
When the individual is in the grips of agoraphobia and panic, the feeling can be one of absolute terror. Because these attacks can be unpredictable, occurring anywhere and at any time, the person experiencing them is very often terrified of them happening in a public place, where they feel the most vulnerable.
This can really compound and intensify feelings of anxiety and panic, producing a very real fear of public places, fear of crowds, fear of travelling alone and fear of leaving home.
Indeed, such intense fear can virtually force the person needing agoraphobia help to avoid leaving the home and putting him or herself into a situation that they feel might leave them vulnerable.
Agoraphobia disorder does appear to be more common in women than in men, although this may simply be because women tend to seek outside help with the condition more than do men. This is a disorder that can often manifest in a person's twenties and can persist for years, if left untreated.
The good news is that skilfully applied transformational hypnotherapy can indeed be used as an effective agoraphobia treatment leading to an agoraphobia cure.
We know that agoraphobia and panic are intense feelings generated at the level of the subconscious mind - the home and repository of all feelings. The scary feelings are experienced because of an over-reaction by the subconscious mind which produces feelings inappropriate to the situation and circumstance. It imagines danger and so produces fear where no real reason for that fear exists.
In reality, though, the subconscious mind just cannot discern the difference between the imaginary and the real. In order to prove this, all you need do is to imagine yourself sucking on a lemon wedge. An imaginary lemon can produce exactly the same effect as a real lemon - tightening of jaw muscles, increased salivation - because for the subconscious mind there really is no difference between the imagined and the real.
With agoraphobia and panic, the subconscious mind has got things wrong. It imagines that a harmless and essentially non-threatening situation is inherently threatening and dangerous and so it responds as though the individual were in real danger by flooding the body with adrenalin - in much the same way that an imagined lemon floods the mouth with saliva - and this in turn produces feelings of anxiety and panic.
Through the medium of transformational hypnotherapy, we can adjust false beliefs and perceptions held by the subconscious mind and correctly align them with reality. Once we have understood the origin of the subconscious mind's faulty perception, we are in a position to correct and neutralise it, thereby freeing the person to move on with their life, free of this really restricting, confining condition.
There really is no need to continue to experience agoraphobia and panic. If agoraphobia disorder is a part of your life, real help is available: Transformational hypnotherapy can indeed provide effective agoraphobia treatment leading to an effective agoraphobia cure.
Peter Field is a leading British hypno-psychotherapist with practises in Birmingham and London, UK. He is the author of numerous articles on psychotherapy, hypnosis and health, a Member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and Fellow of the Royal Society of Health. For more of his interesting articles and other helpful information, visit his website: http://www.peterfieldhypnotherapy.co.uk