Understanding Agoraphobia
And What Makes You Feel Safe

It is not uncommon for people who have agoraphobia (which results in severe panic attacks) to make their homes a personal refuge point. Their homes become the only safe haven where they will feel at peace or at least slightly less worried of having an anxiety attack than being out and about in the outside world.

Once we have experienced and survived these panic attacks, our instincts tell us to drift towards places where these frightening episodes do not occur so that we can remain feeling safe. This may feel like a good remedy. But in reality, it is only a temporary remedy because in the long run we are avoiding more and more places outside of our homes.

How bad can this experience affect a person's social life? Well picture yourself having a panic attack in the grocery store. All of the sudden you start to vomit, your body starts shaking, and you get the feeling that you are going to die.

Fortunately, you are able to get out of the store in one piece and get into your car while thanking God that you survived. Obviously, you will never go back to that grocery store anymore for fear that the same experience will happen again.

Now imagine that you are at your son or daughter's little league soccer game and the experience happens again. Something in the crowd or maybe a particular smell suddenly ignites a panic attack and the only thing that you can think of is to run to your car where you freeze up until you decide to go home. You then will not want to go to this event so as to avoid this feeling of death and panic. Instead, you find a sanctuary in your home where you feel safe and protected.

Many people suffering from acute anxiety finds relief in acquiring a "safe" place, a place where they can confine themselves, where they feel less anxious and more reassured. That place of sanctuary is usually their home.

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