Square terror, also called agoraphobia, is a phobia that causes you to suffer from severe fear and anxiety when you need to visit public places or other places with many people. Square fears can lead to evasive behavior and isolation, but there is help to be had.
Most often, fear is about being afraid of losing control in places that do not feel safe. Some common situations that are perceived as intimidating are, for example, public transport, large crowds and confined or open spaces. The situations that are most frightening vary from case to case. What is common is that they create uncertainty and anxiety in the affected person.
In many cases, those who suffer from square terror know that the fear is excessive or irrational. However, it does not make it any less real, and can lead to being ashamed of one’s condition. Many times, agoraphobia leads to social or school or workplace difficulties. One can be ashamed of one’s condition or have difficulty explaining it to relatives.
Agoraphobia is a common part of anxiety disorder. It is estimated that about half of those with anxiety disorders also suffer from agoraphobia. The word “agora” means square in Greek, hence the term squares. Despite the term squares, not everyone with agoraphobia is afraid of large, open spaces.
It can also be good to know that squares and social phobia are two different phobias. Social phobia is about anxiety and fear of social interactions with other people. Agoraphobia is more about places and spaces. However, the same person may suffer from both social phobia and agoraphobia.
Symptoms of squares
Some of the symptoms that a person with squares can experience are:
- Concentration difficulties
- Feelings of unreality
- Feeling it blackens before the eyes
The symptoms of squares are often similar to a panic anxiety attack, with the difference that the symptoms are more consistent and persistent. After experiencing the symptoms a few times, it can lead to a vicious cycle where you start to avoid situations of fear of losing control in public places.
Causes of squares
It is difficult to find exact reasons why someone develops squares. Agoraphobia usually appears in the late teens or early adulthood. The condition is more common in women than in men. Those who have other phobias are at higher risk of having a panic. Different types of trauma in life, such as deaths in the family, can be triggering factors. Heredity and susceptibility to vulnerability and stress are believed to affect the risk of developing squares.
Treatment of squares
Squares are usually treated with some form of psychotherapy. The most common form of treatment is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (KBT). KBT is a way, often with a therapist, to address the situations that lead to anxiety. You get to learn about its squares and get tools to better manage it. It is common for people to gradually become exposed to their fears of learning to deal with them. In some cases, the therapy may be combined with antidepressants.
Disability agoraphobia can mean that you get the right to travel service from LSS or so-called “car support” by the Social Insurance Agency to make it easier to cope with everyday life.
When should you seek care?
Seek care for your agoraphobia:
- If it limits your life
- If you try to relieve the symptoms through alcohol, drugs or self-harm behavior
Living with fear in the square
If one chooses to seek treatment for his or her anxiety, it is often possible to improve his situation and feel better. It is good to seek care as early as possible so that the problems do not develop over time.