Medical Q&As

Agoraphobia - relapse?

I have been an agoraphobia sufferer for 10 years but my doctor has been very good to me. I was starting to get out and about again, but my periods have started to be irregular and can be very light. They can last for 14 days. Also our youngest has started college and I feel so very lost. I am taking panics attacks feeling hot, and unable to move. It terrifies me. Can panic really leave one shaking and unable to walk?

Agoraphobia is defined as an abnormal fear of open spaces. Reactions of panic usually accompany this morbid fear. You appear to have done very well with the assistance of your GP but now appear to be experiencing a recurrence of your symptoms. To answer your question directly; panic disorder can leave you shaking and unable to walk. A patient once described the fear as being like “having to walk across a tightrope without the reassuring benefit of a safety net underneath. I was too frightened to move”. The person was rooted to the spot. I have also known people to feel intensely dizzy and feel they could not walk from A to B without the fear of falling over. The physical symptoms of panic can be so intense that sufferers invariably feel they are caught up in an impending medical catastrophe such as a heart attack or stroke. It appears to me that there is a lot going on in your life at present. You don’t state your age but you could be menopausal and this could be contributing to your current stress. You are also not relishing the prospect of your youngest starting life at college and this may be creating issues for you regarding your evolving role in your family. Go back and talk to your GP because you really did benefit from your doctor’s support and advice in the past.