Fear of Open Spaces and Receiving Disability
The word "agoraphobia" comes from two Greek words that literally mean, "a fear of the marketplace". Fear of open spaces, which is also known as agoraphobia, is an anxiety disorder that is brought on by the fear of having a panic attack in a setting from which there is no easy means of escape.
Fear of open spaces is a disorder in which you become anxious in any type of environment that is unfamiliar or where you can see that you will have little control of the situation. Crowds, traveling, even when it is for short distances, or wide open spaces can all be triggers for this anxiety disorder.
Fear of open spaces is often made worse by a fear of social embarrassment. This is due to the fact that you may be afraid that you will have a panic attack and appear as if you are distraught in public.
If you have fear of open spaces, you may have panic attacks in situations where you feel insecure, trapped, out of control or too far from your personal comfort zone. Due to this, you may avoid public and/or unfamiliar places. In severe instances, when you have fear of open spaces, you may become confined to your home because you have difficulty traveling from this "safe place."
The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that, at any given time, there are 3.2 million people in the United States between the ages of 18-54 who have fear of open spaces. Fear of open spaces is about twice as common in women as it is in men.
Possible Contributing Factors for Fear of Open Spaces
There is no one single cause for fear of open spaces. However, there are several factors that are believed to contribute to the occurrence of fear of open spaces. Some of these factors are:
- Family Factors:
- Suffering abuse as a child
- Having an anxious parent for a role model
- Having an overly critical parent
- Personality Factors:
- Oversensitivity to emotional stimuli
- A great need for control
- Biological Factors:
- High amounts of sodium lactate in your bloodstream
- Oversensitivity to hormone changes
- Oversensitivity to physical stimuli
There may also be a connection between fear of open spaces and spatial orientation. Usually fear of open spaces develops as a progressive result of panic attacks.
Signs and symptoms with fear of open spaces
Fear of open spaces will usually result in anxiety that you will have a panic attack when you are in a situation from which escape is embarrassing, not possible or difficult. There are other signs and symptoms that you may experience with fear of open spaces. Some of these may include:
- Diarrhea or an upset stomach
- Rapid heartbeat
- Dizziness and/or nausea
- Housebound (an inability to leave your house for long periods of time)
- Intense fear
- Fear of being in places where it may be difficult for you to leave, such as a train or an elevator
- Fear of being alone in any situation
- A sense that your body is not real
- A sense of helplessness
- Fear of being in crowded places
- Excessive sweating or flushing
- Overdependence on others
- Fear of losing control in a public place
- Trouble swallowing
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Feeling like you have lost control.
Fear of open spaces and complications that have been caused by it may have resulted in your disability and be the reason why you are not able to work. If this is your situation, you may have sought after Social Security disability benefits or disability benefits from the Social Security Administration?
Was your attempt to get these benefits denied? Are you trying to figure out what you should do at this time?
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