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7729616 tn?1393795492

Agoraphobia?

I was diagnosed hypothyroid in May of last year but I think I have some form of agoraphobia and I'm not sure if my illness is causing it or not.

I was first shown to have a subclinically underactive thyroid back in November 2011 but because it was subclinical I was not prescribed any medication. Around about this time I started to hate getting on public transport and that I would get annoyed if someone jumped the queue if I were before them. It sounds pretty minor really and I feel daft writing this...

During January/February 2012 I developed a goiter - I didn't know what had caused it at the time and so I did not seek help. To the best of my knowledge I considered it to be a throat infection. Some throat infections cause throats to swell up and so it made sense. I had a hoarse voice too and it hurt to swallow. To counteract the visible deformity of my neck I wrapped scarves around it to cover it up. If I did not, strangers in the street would stare at me and give me worried looks and I knew why.

Now my problems are much, much worse and I don't know if it's the progression of the illness or if I am not medicated enough, but I get very panicky and jumpy around strangers. I come over tense, agitated, snappy and the muscles in my face begin to spasm. I feel like I'm the only one in the world with this as it only ever happens when I am on a plane, a bus, a train, a boat, in a small compact shop or a crowded public place like a shopping mall.

I even hate walking on the same side of the road as a stranger coming the other way because of having to make room for them to get by/possibly interact with them. I have had bad experiences in the past where men have stopped me in the street asking me out and I am wondering if this is stemming from that.

What has made me come on here today and post this question is that I got very uptight in our local shop and I got quite tense, agitated and twitchy when lots of people were in the same aisle as us. It didn't help that my partner was taking his time in deciding what to get to have for dinner and because of the increasing crowd of people I came out with some rather snippy replies which I later felt bad about.


Am I going crazy? I feel as though I am.

:(
2 Responses
8221281 tn?1397570972
Hi! It sounds like you're developing some social anxiety or agoraphobia as a result of poorly treated anxiety. The anxiety is likely secondary to your thyroid condition. The thyroid is basically the spedometer of your body (including the FIGHT or FLIGHT button that is usually responsible for panic attacks.
Some people look down on benzodiazepines or anti-anxiety treatment but if you're anxiety has a chemical basis, I say talk to your doctor about aggressive treatment. Often, what happens is if you don't get significant relief from anxiety or it is allowed to continue in vicious cycles it will lead to self isolation, possibly dangerous behaviors like self-medication, agoraphobia and depression.  From personal experience (not licensed physician) and an advocate who has worked with many people in your position I would recommend two things. 1. See an endocrinologist to follow up on your thyroid issue and get the goiter issue examined. Tell the endocrinologist of your anxiety and any other symptoms  2. See a psych or your GP about starting treatment for severe anxiety. Include a mild benzodiazepine like Klonopin or Ativan along with an anti-depressant to help regulate your neurotransmitters. I became agoraphobic after a long period of not having my anxiety (secondary to a health condition) under control. Once I got the cycle of anxiety under control I was able to make better decisions like getting to the doc to get my thyroid issues under control and I'm no longer agoraphobic.  Joining a support group is also very helpful. You are not crazy - Its very courageous of you to seek help for this before it gets any worse. Feel free to contact me at tristan dot moore at hotmail dot c o m if you want to just chat. I know sometimes its helpful to talk to someone with anxiety to help you get out of that stuck mode.
7729616 tn?1393795492
Hi thanks for your reply.

I am currently under the care of an endocrinologist but the department I am under the care of keeps moving my appointment dates. It was meant to be the 19th April but it's now been moved to the 25th May. This is the fourth time it has happened. The endocrinologist has been made aware of my depression, anxiety and fatigue and thinks it's due to my Vitamin D deficiency and not thyroid problems.

The goiter issue has been examined since - back in March - sorry I did not explain this as it came back normal. So no issues there.

I see a counselor at present for my anxiety and depression. I have been put on an SSRI called Citalopram. I have been on it since February but it has not helped.

I was a member of a UK thyroid support forum but due to a misunderstanding between myself and another member I have left and not gone back since, so I have now lost support completely.

Thanks for your help. :)

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