Agoraphobia is often demonstrated in movies as the inability to leave one’s home. However, as with all mental health issues, there is a spectrum. The Canadian Mental Health Association defines agoraphobia as the fear or worry of being in a situation where an individual cannot escape if they have a panic attack or other feelings of anxiety. Often the fear is from being stuck in a situation where they may be embarrassed or laughed at if they experience a high level of anxiety, such as a panic attack. It is one of the types of anxiety disorder and can occur with or without other anxiety disorders. For example, you may not experience a “full-on” panic attack but can feel slightly dizzy in a crowded grocery store. They may need someone to come with them when they enter into spaces or events that can cause their agoraphobia to appear. Crowds, small spaces, public transportation, and new situations are a few things that can bring on agoraphobic symptoms.

The incidence of agoraphobia is generally 2% of the population and is caused by several underlying factors. The pandemic has caused higher levels of anxiety. As we return to the “new normal,” it is natural to feel anxious about going out in public due to health concerns. Most of us have become used to not being in crowded places. Now, you may feel nervous about getting back to work in person, entering stores, being in lines, taking buses and other public modes of transportation, or just leaving your home. This is natural after a prolonged time of minimizing contact with other people.

A panic attack involves increased heart rate, sweating, fainting or passing out, or nausea. If you experience a panic attack or find yourself unable to do things you did before the pandemic without having a panic attack, check with a therapist. Therapy can help you recover from post-pandemic anxiety and can guide you to resume your life.

If you are looking for more information and/or help, please do not hesitate to call 905-799-2228 or sign up on the form; a service coordinator will reach you shortly.