MDJunction - People Helping People
Ask a Question
06/03/2010 01:24 PM

How Long Will My Recovery Take?

silverguyPosts: 5233
VIP Member
I'm an Advocate

This is another article from Stephen Price. I apologize for the copy/paste again but Price is so "on the money", there is no need to disturb his words.

How Long Will it Take to Get Over Agoraphobia?

5 Laws to Boost Your Progress Toward Recovery

Do you ever worry about the pace of your recovery from agoraphobia? Do you ever say to yourself: “At this rate, it could take forever to get my life back?”

When first trying to overcome irrational fear and anxiety it can feel like maximum efforts lead to only minimal results. If you feel this way, you are in good company.

I would be embarrassed to to tell you exactly how long it took for me to make it to the end of my driveway to get the mail without being overcome by a panic attack. I remember thinking: “If it takes this long to make 20 yards of progress, then I will be about 100 years old when I finally return to work or school.”

This sort of thinking can be demoralizing when you are working hard to overcome agoraphobia. In fact, it can make you feel like giving up. But knowing what to expect in the normal course of recovery from agoraphobia can help you avoid being derailed by discouraging thoughts and stay on the most direct path to freedom from fear.

Here are 5 Laws of Recovery from Agoraphobia that summarize what you can expect in the typical course of recovery from agoraphobia:

Law 1: The Law of Time:

It takes an average of 12-16 weeks to see significant progress if you are faithfully following a cognitive-behavioral treatment program.

Law 2: The Law of Momentum:

When it comes to recovery from agoraphobia, intitial progress will be harder to attain than later progress. In other words, things get easier and recover goes faster with time.

Law 3: The Law of Consistency:

No one heroic effort will set you free from agoraphobia. Freedom comes from practicing lots of little things every day.

Law 4: The Law of Inconsistency:

Don't expect progress to be all forward. The road to recovery has its ups and downs, but a bad day does not mean you are further away from recovery than the day before.

Law 5: The Law of Aftershocks:

Expect to have some late panic attacks even after you are recovered. Most people do. This does not mean you will get agoraphobia again.


06/03/2010 03:36 PM
Posts: 6115
VIP Member
I'm an Advocate

Thanks Silver. I actually had not seen this one. I love Stephen Price. I have been getting frustrated with the amount of time this is all taking. I feel like the little things I have been doing don't add up to much. I guess they do though. I keep thinking it will be forever before I can return to work and a more outgoing life. Then I will have terrible days and I find it very hard not to think I am moving backwards. I guess this is all just normal for the path of recovery from agoraphobia.

Post edited by: jojobear, at: 06/03/2010 03:37 PM

06/03/2010 04:25 PM
Posts: 3480
VIP Member

It may take some of us a little more time than 16 weeks. First I have to get brave enough to go to the doctors in the first place. I can go for walks with a person with me now. But going into strange buildings is still not an issue I can tackle. I know I need to try but I am scared. It makes me feel sick just to look at the building nor less go inside and up steps and into waiting areas and such. Little steps I know. Thanks Silver at least I know someone is actually better, God Bless him.

06/03/2010 04:39 PM
Posts: 6115
VIP Member
I'm an Advocate

Here is another article by Stephen Price that explains why recovery can take a year or more sometimes.

Why Most People with Agoraphobia Take a Year or More to Start Recovery by Stephen Price

Understanding agoraphobia is the first step toward recovery. However, the average person with agoraphobia takes at least one full year to get diagnosed and even longer to learn enough about agoraphobia to start recovering.

Here are four reasons why:

1) Most people don't know what is wrong with them at first. The symptoms of agoraphobia, especially during panic attacks, feel like those of a physical illness. For example, when you are hyperventilating it is easy to suspect something is wrong with your lungs. When your heart is racing it is easy to think something is wrong with your heart. When you are sick at your stomach day after day it is easy to think something is wrong with your digestive system. Plus, one symptom of agoraphobia is to "scan" your body for physical symptoms and worry about every little twinge as if it may be a major life-threatening illness.

2) Many doctors don't know how to diagnose agoraphobia. People with agoraphobia commonly visit a succession of doctors trying to find a diagnosis. Most doctors will listen to physical complaints and run tests. They will report that the tests are negative, but often fail to suggest the presence of agoraphobia due to a lack of training. Doctors who can tell that your symptoms are caused by a panic attack may still not be able to tell what type of anxiety disorder you have or provide information about it.

3) Most people go through a period of denial. If finally faced with a diagnosis of a psychological disorder like agoraphobia, the human reaction is to throw up defenses and deny it. Most of us don't think of ourselves as the type of person who would have a "mental problem" or "psychological disorder." Psychological problems carry a stigma in society that physical illnesses and injuries do not.

The average person tends to consider a psychological disorder as personal weakness or lack of will power. People are more likely to treat a psychological disorder like agoraphobia as your fault than they would in the case of a physical illness or injury. If you were diagnosed with cancer, no one would stand over your bed during chemotherapy and question your will power, work ethic, or desire to go to work or school. But try having agoraphobia. People will do exactly that. Since no one wants to be viewed that way, it is hard for most people to admit to anyone they have agoraphobia.

4) Most people are reluctant to seek treatment for a psychological disorder because of the stigma. Even people who are able to admit to themselves that they have a psychological disorder might still have trouble admitting it to anyone else. It's hard enough to try to explain irrational fear and panic attacks to your friends and family, and even harder to seek out professional help.

A word to the wise - the best course of action to take if you start experiencing panic attacks or the symptoms of agoraphobia is:

* See a doctor to rule out medical problems.

*Consult a mental health professional to get a diagnosis and/or begin treatment.

*Learn everything you can about your disorder.

Knowledge is the first step to recovery and the sooner you get started on your recovery from agoraphobia the faster it will be.

On the flip side, the longer it takes you to get diagnosed and admit that you have a disorder - the more agoraphobia has a chance to take root, and the more difficult your recovery may be.

If you suspect that you or someone you know might have agoraphobia, don't take a year to start learning everything you can about it. Start today. You can learn more by signing up for the Agoraphobia Report, or by reading the many articles on this website.

Retrieved From:

06/07/2010 07:13 AM
Posts: 40

These are all so true! I've been an agoraphobic for almost a year and I just recently got clinically diagnosed. I've been going to therapy and I have been going out every week (consistently) so I am definitely recovering. Great articles!

06/07/2010 07:19 AM
Posts: 7356
VIP Member

Thanks guys! I needed that. Lately it feels like everytime I go out I take a step back. This last week staying at home was great! The only place I went to was the book stare, but there was panic there. Oh and the liquor store, but it's practically across the street and almost empty so that's no problme for me. I just feel like I am not pushing myuself enough lately. Been whenever I go out lately something bad seems to happen and it feels like I am sinking deeper in stead of surving. Has this happened to any of you before?

Share this discussion with your friends:

Disclaimer: The information provided in MDJunction is not a replacement for medical diagnosis, treatment, or professional medical advice.
In case of EMERGENCY call 911 or 1.800.273.TALK (8255) to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Read more.
Contact Us | About Us
Copyright (c) 2006-2014 All Rights Reserved