Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders tend to become worse over time, partly because individuals with the disorder often have difficulty tolerating uncomfortable feelings. Therefore, when possible they avoid situations that produce uncomfortable feelings. The counterintuitive result of this avoidance generally leads to an increase in anxiety levels and subsequently a degradation of one’s quality of life.
An additional problem is that you have no health insurance. One possible option is seeking treatment at a community mental health center. They offer psychiatric services to individuals without health insurance. It may be helpful to call your local community mental health center and ask for their advice. There may be some help they can offer you over the phone. Other possible options include:
- Joining an online support group for individuals with agoraphobia. You may learn important information and coping skills from other group members. Perhaps there are some strategies that other group members have used for getting help that you might try yourself.
- Calling local therapists and asking for their advice. They may know of low-cost or free services that may help in your situation. You should also ask them whether they offer psychotherapy sessions over the phone. Maybe someone will offer their services to you at a reduced cost.
- Contacting the Anxiety Disorders Association of America. Here’s a link to their website. Present your situation to them. They may have good advice for you.
- Applying for two government social programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). These programs can help you access health insurance and a monthly income. Click this link to read more about these programs.
- Contacting a therapist on Live Person. Live Person ostensibly provides psychotherapy over the Internet. It is a pay site so there will be a charge but you may be able to hire a therapist at a discounted price. Usually the first few minutes of interaction with the therapists are free and it is during this time that you may be able to negotiate a reduced rate. If you are interested, here is a link to their website.
The bottom line is you are faced with a challenging situation. Treatments exist that can actually cure agoraphobia. I understand that you are homebound. Obviously, if you could leave your house you would have but at some point the only way to cure this problem may be to force yourself into therapy. I wish you well. Thanks for writing.
This article has been updated from the original version, which was originally published here on June 25, 2010.