Phrases like Agoraphobia, Panic Attacks, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and the like are labels. In the western world and particularly in the USA people see happiest when they have a label, as if there is some consolation in the medical establishment being able to pigeon-hole your issue. After all, if you did not have the label “Social Anxiety” you would just take a vague list of symptoms to the doctor and be told that you were very shy.
Initially then labels gave the anxiety or panic suffer some kind of recognition, that rather than just needing to “pull themselves together” they actually had an issue which the medical and psychological profession should take seriously.
Times have now changed a bit and things have gone to far. The recognition anxiety sufferers have now seems to be more of a hindrance than a help. The problem is that labels such as agoraphobia now seem to cause a perpetuation of symptoms in the sufferer and a predictable “one size fits all” approach from doctors and psychiatrists (and the psychological profession). Now, when someone is told by their doctor that they are agoraphobic they tend to Google agoraphobia and see in horror the list of symptoms, which surprise surprise manifest themselves in no time at all.
It seems to be the nature of anxiety sufferers that their minds want to absorb bad news and rise to the worst possible outcome. I believe that this means many people are manifesting symptoms that they wouldn’t actually have, symptoms that they have absorbed from other peoples’ hard luck stories, people who were labelled with having the same anxiety disorder as them. Thus an “agoraphobic” who has had panic attacks in the town centre but never had any difficulty driving around the country may come across a case study of a man who was happy in his local area but could not bare to travel round his country. The sufferer, when embarking on a journey may well ask themselves suddenly “what if that happened to me???” A question that normally has one outcome, a rise in tension and eventually a fear response.
Escaping labels is one part of recovery from anxiety. Click here to escape labels.