The best agoraphobia treatment is by taking baby steps to recovery. Little by little, approaching feared situations one at a time until you can move forward to something else.
I would not recommend trying to overcome your agoraphobia until you understand how to use positive thoughts to manage your panic sensations. When you think you have a good understanding on how to replace your thoughts with healthy, more truthful thoughts, I would then suggest taking baby steps towards recovery so that you can put your skills to work.
You learn by doing. So I encourage you to practice as often as you can. The more you practice, the better you will get and the easier things will become.
No matter how severe your agoraphobia is you can recover.
It is really important that you understand that you cannot rush this process. By trying to rush recovery, you will actually sabotage it.
I really want to encourage you to take your time and take baby steps to recovery. The only agoraphobia treatment that works to help you recover from agoraphobia is by taking one small step at a time.
I know you really want to get this over with and you want to hurry up, but a hurried attitude will only be self-defeating. The only way this agoraphobia treatment will work is through patience and determination. It is hard being patient when you are anxious but you do this by accepting your situation and adopting an attitude of persistence and perseverance. Remember you are human and good things are worth the time it takes.
Proper agoraphobia treatment, although is difficult, is worth every hard effort you put forth.
So you may be wondering... "How do I take these baby steps for the treatment of my agoraphobia?"
Let's say your agoraphobia has stopped you from visiting the grocery store. You struggle with walking the isles, standing at the deli, and then standing in line at the checkout.
You would approach this practice sessions by taking one small step at a time. It is through desensitizing yourself little by little that will bring you the most success. You can also call this approach exposure therapy.
Recovery cannot happen without this form of agoraphobia treatment.
Take your time and pace yourself.
Recovery is not about forcing yourself to suffer through it in a hurry. In fact, a successful practice session takes one thing at a time. Anyone can hurry into a store, get what they need and get out.
I want to tell you right now that if you go into that store with the intent of being quick, doing the job and then leaving, you are not making any progress at all. In fact, you could be sabotaging your own success.
Success with baby steps sounds something like this:
First, adopt an attitude of acceptance. Accepting your symptoms for what they are and nothing more. Give yourself permission to feel whatever it is you are going to feel.
On the first day, practice entering the grocery store and just walking around near the door. Work through your anxious thoughts. If you get the urge to run, it is important that you stay and float through those feelings. I would recommend staying at least 10 minutes longer past the original urge to leave. If you feel you need to repeat what you did on the first day, then do it the following day. In fact, do it until you feel it is becoming easier. How many days this may take is up to you. Everyone is different and it is important to understand that. Be patient with yourself.
When you are ready to move ahead, you will go further into the store, perhaps this time walking the isles. If you experience dizzy spells or panic, stay still and do not move. Do not forget to use your positive affirmations and your breathing exercises. Again, allow these feelings to come, do not resist them, remember they will pass! Walk slowly if you must. It is okay to feel whatever it is you are going to feel. I would do this until you are ready to proceed to the next step which would be to get in line and purchase something.
When standing in line, you may start by picking a short line, or maybe a checkout that is open and ready for you. Then each time you visit the store, pick a longer and longer line. This will help you learn and build tolerance for your body symptoms and give you time to work on your self-talk.
It takes a long time before your body feels the effects of agoraphobia treatment through cognitive-behavioral therapy. Therefore it may take many attempts before you begin to feel less anxiety. Always know that your practice sessions are never a waste. Your mind is learning regardless of how "good" or "bad" your practice experience went. Practice, and practice a lot!
Remember, you are in control. You are in charge of your own recovery and how big these baby steps will be. You do not have to do anything that you do not want to do. So remind yourself that you want to do this, because you want to recover. We all have a tendency to feel more stress and anxiety if we feel we are being forced and have no choice.
The truth is, you do have a choice! Recovery is a choice! Please remember that you are always in control.