The question of how COVID has led to an increase in the number of people suffering from agoraphobia is a big one. People with the disorder fear crowds and open spaces. The word “agora” itself means marketplace, and it is no surprise that people who suffer from this condition avoid places where they are around crowds and feel helpless. The most common triggers of these attacks include crowded places and social isolation.
The United Kingdom is an interesting case study on the COVID-19 and agoraphobia connection. In March 2020 the pandemic spread across the U.K., and 49.6% of the population had express having elevated anxiety levels. According to Shevlin et al., the virus causes illness-related anxiety in about half of its victims. In another study, Pakpour et al., a group of researchers from the United Kingdom, found that COVID-19 exposure is a significant trigger for a higher rate of a phobia.
Individuals who experience intense agoraphobia are more likely to develop a panic disorder or OCD. This disorder can worsen existing conditions, such as social anxiety. However, this condition should gradually improve as people get used to going out into the world. To deal with this disorder, individuals should limit their consumption of social media and news.
Using cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) to treat agoraphobia is one of the most effective therapies. It teaches patients to recognize thought patterns and learn to manage difficult emotions. By slowly exposing patients to anxiety-producing situations, CBT helps individuals deal with these difficult emotions. It also aims to deal with underlying problems. The Newport Institute, an institution that guides young people in healing their mental health, provides a treatment program for individuals suffering from agoraphobia.