Agoraphobia Community
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774736 tn?1311334985

I believe im developing agoraphobia

I have been struggling with anxiety for about 2 months now and have slowly started to become more house bound...I cant seem to go out in public anymore because im afraid of having more panic attacks...It all started when I was smoking marijuana and had a panic attack out of the blue(at the time I didn't know what was going on)I experienced heart palps, shortness of breath, derealization, paresthesias etc... My dad finally picked me up and took me to the ER...When I arrived they did the standard tests an ekg, chest xrays, the doctor examined me etc...Ever since ive been dealing with the same symptoms everywhere I go...Its gotten to the point where I dont even wanna leave the house and I have to have a job im 21 years old...Ive already moved back into my parents which is completly irresponsible but I have no other choice I feel like my life is ruined...Im also having to put college on hold for awhile till I can get this anxiety dilemma under control...Sometimes I feel hopeless all I do is watch movies and sit on the internet not to mention worry constantly...

Sorry about all the emotions just stressed out and dont know where to turn...My family and friends think its something I can just shake off...

Any feedback would be much appreciated
9 Responses
Avatar universal
Reading your post reminded so much of myself back when I first experienced panic and agoraphobia.  I was 22 then.  That was many years ago and I'm here to tell you that I understand your worry and your stressfulness, but there really is light at the end of the tunnel.  
In my opinion, the first thing you need to do is find a good therapist who does cognitive behavioral therapy.  That will help you desensitize so you can start going out again and learn how to get the anxiety under control.  You can talk to your doctor about it too, and get some medication, if that's your preference.  Some people use medication, some don't.  
And for now, I think it's good that you're at your parents house where you can devote some time to getting better.  
Please remember that you're not alone, this won't kill you, and that recovery is right around the corner if you take the steps needed.  
By the way, there are lots of panic support groups on the net.  You might want to check those out, too.  It helps to have support, even on the net.  
You can also have your family read up on panic/anxiety/agoraphobia on the computer to help them understand what's going on with you.
Keep us posted on your progress...........
Avatar universal
Don't wait! FInd a good Psychiatrist you can work with and who will listen....really listen to you. I've gone to several over the years and it took persistence to finally find a doctor I can work with, who will not just prescribe medication and tell me I'm difficult because of my reactions to medications! I experienced panic attacks with agoraphobia as a reaction to Xanax, which was given to me after I was put on birth control pills and started blacking out (a side effect to the birth control pills that was misdiagnosed as "anxiety"). It was a scary battle, and I seriously thought I was loosing my mind. Then I fortunately found a doctor who understood what was going on and got me on a correct path. It is amazing how a sensitive person like myself will react to drugs (and I've never done any illegal drugs). Furthermore, the dosages of medication I was given were very small, and yet I would have reactions to them within a few days to a weeks time. THe reactions were severe and equal to patients on ten times+ the amount of the drugs.  Welcome to being hyper sensitive! I found most doctors don't understand hypersensitive patients, so be persistent and keep searching for one who does. Good luck to you. You are not alone in this.
Avatar universal
Hey, what probably happened is that the thermostat that regulates your anxiety called the "amygdala" got stuck at a high level somehow so now that's what your brain is assuming is the normal level of alertness or awarness so to speak.   Just look up the Linden Method.. Charles Linden is awesome.  It's really popular in the UK but i've done extensive research on it and it's the real deal.  Go on youtube and type "Charles Linden"  click the first one and watch that video.. you'll be amazed.

363281 tn?1518219421
I can relate to your fears, when I started having panic/anxiety attacks, I would be afraid to even go to the mail box, I lived in dread of doing anything, it was pure H----. I purchased two books by Claire Weekes, one is called "Hope and help for your nerves" and the other one is called "Peace from nervous suffering" I tell you, these two books helped more than anything. They are so easy to read and understand, it is like she is sitting next to you talking. I am lots better now, I am 51 and have been fighting this since my 20's, believe me, it WILL get better.
Avatar universal
I also understand how you're feeling.  The same thing happened with me around 5 years ago when I was your age.  I used to smoke a lot of marijuana and then one day it all became too much for me.  I found that each time I smoked it I would have a panic attack and have to sit it out.  I decided that it was too strong for me.  I was prescribed both Effexor and Paxil and found that neither helped calm me.  One of the biggest reliefs for me has been exercise.  It is a positive stress relief and just makes me feel better.  Things will improve.  Just keep moving forward and challenging yourself to step out of your comfort zone.  Go to the store when you're afraid to.  The more you keep challenging yourself the easier it will get.  Keep talking about how you're feeling.  Journal.  Don't hold it all in.  And remember you're not alone. :)
Avatar universal
People, this kind of thing happens from drug use.  It's very hard to tell when or even IF it'll happen but it happened to me.  I used to take vicodin like it was going out of style.. to me, opiates relieved the worries and stresses of the day much like marijuana does to others.  I found when I quit taking them, I got HUGE amount of anxiety and it caused the already existing OCD that I had to BLOW UP IN MY FACE!!  I was also home-bound for about a month.. I found that the longer I stayed away from the vicodin, the better I got.. very very gradually though.  To anyone out there who is experiencing agoraphobia or high amounts of anxiety after smoking weed or any other drug, there is light at the end of the tunnel.. it's called staying off of that drug for long enough for your brain to go back to normal.  Trust me, i know.  I didn't think i'd get better (when you have the anxiety disorder, you can never see the light at the end of the tunnel) but I made sure to stay away from the vicodin and slowly but surely, i got better.. I can go outside, go to the movies.. no problem now.. I still have the mild OCD but nothing like it was when i first quit that ****.  Just try and stay off the drug (not talking bout prescription although some prescription drugs can make things worse too)

anyway, there is hope everyone, just start with taking care of yourself

Avatar universal
My life has really sucked lately. I used to be fun and carefree. now I'm too scared to leave my house. i don't have anything to fear but ever since i had a panic attack while i was driving I'm scared to go anywhere . My brother found me a great job opportunity that will pay me more than i have ever made (I'm only 22 so its not extreme wealth) and I'm not excited. instead I'm ready to not accept the job because I'm too affraid to drive, to work, to leave my house. agorphobia has taken over my life.
Avatar universal
I am taking Celexa 20 mg. Here is what happened, I was confined to one room/my apartment and got short of breath during showering, cooking, eating, sex, and going out of my apartment. Agoraphobia lasted for about two weeks and a half, got cured after my Celexa kicked in after taking it for two weeks.
I have a long history of anxiety and taking medication for it. But I relapsed again in early 2012, 6 months after I stopped taking my Celexa Rx. My anxiety disorder came back again when I was pregnant, and later it got worse, into agoraphobia, after I had a bad panic attack as a passenger on a bridge. After that, I went to the emergency room, but the stuck up doc refused to refill my Celexa from an old RX I stopped taking a year before- because I was pregnant.  It was hard to find a OB doctor who would be willing to supervise me under Celexa when pregnant. But I found a sympathetic doc who said Celexa is safe for pregnant women, baby born perfectly healthy. Celexa took away my agoraphobia.
But when you start on a new meds, people have to test the meds. You can't just stay inside taking the meds. there will always be the doubt if the meds will work or not. So after 1 and a half weeks of taking the meds, I started going outside to sweep the porch. Noticed then, no shortness of breath. So then next day I walked a block to pick up my kid from school and even talked to a teacher. Noticed no shortness of breath. So every day I went farther and farther. I did get mind fear, but once I noticed I could breathe, I realized the medicine was workng. You will not know if it works until you go out in situations that used to make you nervous. It took me a month to get the nerve to go in the freeway, on the Celexa, I drove a quarter mile, I could breathe easy. So each and every day, I go more far away from home . I even have a job now. Need to stay on this meds as long as I can.
4251246 tn?1351726432
Agoraphobia is a big deal, and  if you do have it, you will need to manage it everyday just like any chronic illness like diabetes type 1.  This means that yr meds will change or your amounts will change, and this is why it is so important to have a doctor you can trust and communicate with immediately.  I have had agoraphobia for decades now, and it helps me to have some kind of schedule so I must leave the house! If I do not have a schedule, I may not even leave the house to check my mail.

I have had trouble with work because of my various anxieties. Hiding an illness like this means that people think you are snobby or don't like people because you do not join in for group lunches and stuff like that.  I have had to take jobs way below my education level simply because they are less stressful, and I am glad then to leave the house, deal mostly with one to one interactions, and then go home.

Any young person who believes they are developing this disorder needs to find a good psychiatrist to help them observe the triggers that make a day less tolerable than another. I find that a careful monitoring of my meds is the only way, and to be honest about how anxious I am feeling!
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Avatar universal
Arlington, VA
675718 tn?1530036633
El Paso, TX
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