Fear of Open Spaces
One-third to one-half of those in community samples who have panic disorder also suffer from Agoraphobia. The typical age of onset is either in late adolescence or the mid-30s. In one study carried out with NIMH sponsorship, 2.8% to 5.7% of the population sample met criteria for agoraphobia, with an additional 1% meeting criteria for panic disorder.
Clients with agoraphobia are treated with a combination of relaxation training, physiological feedback and virtual reality graded exposure therapy. Together, the therapist and client work to create a list of situations that become increasingly more anxiety provoking. The client is then exposed to these situations in virtual reality in controlled progressive stages.
There are many environments available for those afraid of open spaces, including beaches, grocery stores, plazas, streets and landscapes. The client may exit these virtual worlds at any time if the situation becomes too frightening.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (858) 642-0267.