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For someone living with Agoraphobia, everyday life becomes difficult to live with. We understand this dilemma you or someone you know might be facing, and we would like you to read this article to better yourself or your close ones. Many of our cases involved patients with agoraphobia, and many of those very same cases resulted in favorable outcomes.

Agoraphobia is defined by the Mayo Clinic as an anxiety disorder that stems from fear. Someone with this condition would have a difficult time being out in open places, or even anywhere in public. Elevators, stadiums, public buses or bridges are just a few examples of places that may trigger an agoraphobic patient to have a panic attack. The hardest part about this condition is that someone stricken with this disorder can become so overwhelmed with their fears that they never leave their house, which makes it very hard for treatment to be successful.

Since agoraphobia causes patients to be afraid of having a panic attack, the symptoms for this condition stem from a fear of being alone or in open areas, overdependence on others, or a sense of helplessness. Or, panic attack symptoms might appear, such as lightheadedness, difficulty breathing, dizziness, or chest pain. Despite the amount of information we have about this condition, a cause for it is still unknown, but it is believed that genetics and body type play a role.

Identifying this condition is done with a psychological evaluation, a physical exam, and your ability to describe your symptoms and complications you are having to your doctor. Medications prescribed are usually anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medications, but another available option is psychotherapy. As stated earlier, we have seen many cases involving this condition, and we have to say that psychological help is quite helpful to many. We say this because some clients steadfastly claim that they don’t need psychological help. Sometimes this might be the right way, but for others, it is seriously not. Agoraphobia can limit someone’s ability to live a normal life, but psychological help can greatly increase the chances of a patient’s re-entry into the public.

Social Security evaluates disability cases essentially in one of two ways: either by comparing the claimant’s medical condition to a medical condition described in the “medical listing of impairments”, or in the commonsense way of evaluating the overall effect of the claimant’s symptoms on their ability to work.

Social Security defines “work” as an eight hour a day, five-day week endeavor. As in most Social Security Disability claims, the judge’s decision boils down to whether or not he or she believes that you can perform the basic functions of work (sitting, standing, walking, lifting, concentrating, interacting appropriately with people encountered in the workplace, etc.). The fact that a claimant can only perform these basic functions sporadically, but not consistently, is the basis for the large majority of successful Social Security Disability claims.

It’s hard enough to live, let alone work, with a condition as seriously debilitating as agoraphobia. For someone’s fear to build up so immensely that they can’t even step outside is truly tragic. We must say, however, that despite the tragedy in this that we are willing to help. We understand the great ordeal that may be troubling you or someone you know, and we take that very seriously. There is never a wrong time to ask for help, and we want you to know that our help has been recommended, serviced and completed for years. We hope this article helped in more ways than one, and we hope you call our office with any questions you may have, pertaining to agoraphobia or not.

Suggestions for further reading:

1. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/agoraphobia/DS00894

2. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000931.htm

3. http://www.barackobama.com/issues/healthcare/

4. http://www.barackobama.com/issues/disabilities/