Agoraphobia is a distressing anxiety disorder characterised by an intense fear of situations that might be difficult to escape or where help may not be readily available. Agoraphobia may initially start with fear or avoidance of some anxiety-provoking places, but it can worsen over time. In extreme cases, some people might avoid leaving the house entirely due to fear. While anti-anxiety medications can certainly be helpful, there are also natural strategies that people can incorporate into their daily lives to overcome agoraphobia. Some of them are:
Aromatherapy is an alternative therapy approach that involves using essential oils or fragrances to reduce the symptoms of anxiety. Following are the scents commonly used in aromatherapy to promote relaxation and decrease negative emotions.
- Lavender oil is known for its soothing properties The fragrance of lavender is thought to enhance mood and lessen nervous feelings. This fragrance is suitable for calming effects at any time of the day. Using it before bedtime can be particularly helpful in encouraging peaceful sleep.
- Lemon: The fragrance of lemon oil is thought to improve mood, increase concentration, and reduce feelings of fear, which are hallmarks of agoraphobia.
- Bergamot: Inhaling the fragrance of bergamot oil can bring about a sense of refreshment and energy. This essential oil is thought to assist in managing symptoms of anxiety by reducing feelings of fear and bringing about deep relaxation.
Visualization involves using imagination or mental imagery to achieve a relaxed mind. For agoraphobia, visualisation can be used in multiple ways. Some of them are:
- Visualizing a calm and comforting space that makes you feel safe while you are undergoing a stressful situation.
- Thinking of a recent positive or happy memory to trigger positive feelings in situations that trigger agoraphobia
- Visualize successfully navigating through situations that trigger agoraphobia. Imagine yourself calmly moving through crowds or walking in open spaces. Combine positive affirmations with these visualizations to reinforce a sense of control and capability.
Gradually exposing yourself to difficult situations can help overcome agoraphobia. Create a list of difficult situations and rank them from least difficult to most difficult, creating a fear hierarchy. Start with small steps, such as taking short walks close to home or spending time in less crowded areas. As comfort increases, gradually expose yourself to more challenging situations. Celebrate each achievement, no matter how small, and be patient with the process.
Self-care is an essential part of overcoming agoraphobia. Take care of yourself by incorporating regular exercise, a balanced diet, and 7-8 hours of sleep in your daily schedule. All these things have been proven to reduce stress and anxiety over time. Also, start practising deep breathing techniques so that you can use them during stressful situations
A strong support system is crucial for overcoming agoraphobia. Share your experiences with trusted friends or family members who can provide encouragement and understanding You can also consider joining support groups or online communities where individuals with similar struggles can share insights and advice
While all the above-mentioned techniques can contribute to recovery from agoraphobia, ultimately recovery depends on the severity of symptoms as well. If the symptoms are particularly severe, it might be a good idea to use these techniques alongside psychotherapy or medications. Trying to overcome severe agoraphobia with natural remedies comes with the risk of making it worse in the long run
- A Daily Plan for Overcoming Agoraphobia. (2016, May 17). Psych Central. https://psychcentral.com/lib/a-daily-plan-for-overcoming-agoraphobia
- B.C.B, R. M., Psy D. (2023, March 28). 6 Effective Ways to Treat Panic Disorder Naturally. Evolutions Behavioral Health Services. https://www.evolutionsbh.com/articles/6-effective-ways-to-treat-panic-disorder-naturally/
- Using Essential Oils to Ease Anxiety When You Have Panic Disorder. (n.d.). Verywell Mind. Retrieved January 15, 2024, from https://www.verywellmind.com/aromatherapy-for-panic-disorder-2584281
- Visualization Techniques Can Help Manage Your Symptoms. (n.d.). Verywell Mind. Retrieved January 15, 2024, from https://www.verywellmind.com/visualization-for-relaxation-2584112