Friday, April 07, 2006

Helping Someone with Agoraphobia Want to Recover

You'd think that everyone with agoraphobia would want to recover, but as I discussed in my last post, some people have some deeply ingrained reasons to cling to their disorder.

One of the best things you can do to support a friend or loved one with agoraphobia is to help them find the desire, motivation, or will to recover if they cannot find it within themselves. What you do to accomplish this should probaby depend on their reasons to stay ill. But in general:

Assure them that they will not lose your attention if they get better, that you would still love and care for them and want to be close to them should they recover from agoraphobia.

Don't let them get away with putting the responsibility for their problem on other people - especially on you. Lovingly confront them when they start to do this and don't get involved in conversations about how someone else is to blame for their problems.

Also, do not be an enabler and cater to their every whim. If you start doing everything for them (shopping, communicating with people, doing the things they are afraid to do for themselves) you are taking responsibility for their disorder and making it convenient for them to stay in their agoraphobic state.

Treat them like the worthwhile person that they are and remind them they are worthy of a better life. Stay positive about who they are, be encouraging and don't get involved in conversations about why they are a bad person or deserve to have agoraphobia.

Most of all - help them find a purpose greater than their fear. This is one of the most important factors in anyone's recovery - discovering a reason for living that makes fear irrelevant.

Discuss their dreams and fantasies with them. Draw out their desires. Engage them in discussions about their skills and interests and what would bring them the most satisfaction in life.

People who are driven to action by a heartfelt cause seldom worry about what might happen if they fail. People who have a reason for living are seldom afraid of freedom, choices, or change. Their focus is usually on making a difference in the world rather than on being afraid of what dreadful thing might happen to them.

In the most extreme cases, people with a strong sense of purpose do not even show fear in the face of death.


At 11:53 PM, Blogger Alma da Terra said...


At 7:55 AM, Anonymous susan said...

I am truly going to enjoy reading about new techs on getting better w/ the agoraphobia that I have suffered from ! At least I have one form of support, being my hubby, although sometimes he is to
anxious to push me towards things that I am not ready to undertake!
Such a driving. I haven't driven alone in over 11 years. The fear of being hit from behind that happened twice in 3 years of each other,wow, I would give anything to be off anxiety meds and have my old life back.....I have gone through EMDR, which is ok in some respect, but it doesn't address the actual problems surrounding agoraphobia. I am looking forward to your news-eletter.....this is a great site! susan

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