Re: Agoraphobia With Panic Disorder
I had problems with pretty bad agoraphobia in the past. I couldn't even leave the house without risking a serious panic attack, and sometimes I'd have a panic attack even inside the house (e.g., seeing certain outdoor scenes on TV would get me really anxious). I felt dizzy and disoriented all the time, as though I were on a ship at sea being tossed about by huge waves, or as if I were on a roller coaster ride that wouldn't end. This was when I was about 21 years old.
What worked very well for me was a fairly high dose of Zoloft (other SSRIs like Prozac, Paxil, etc., also work well for this) and an "emergency prescription" of Xanax to rely on while waiting for the SSRI to start working, or (later on) if I had a particularly bad day in spite of the SSRI. After a month or so on the Zoloft I didn't even need the Xanax, but I kept it around just in case.
There are a lot of good drugs out there -- don't be afraid of them. Find one that works and stick with it. Use benzos like Xanax or Valium if you need to, but you might not need benzos at all, or only once in a blue moon, once you've been on the right drug for a while. (Again, the SSRIs are often recommended for this sort of thing.) While you may still have the occasional twinge of fear while being in wide open spaces -- I still avoid them when I can -- the treatment of "constant SSRI, plus benzo when needed" has worked quite well for me and avoids benzo addiction. You might want to check with your shrink about it.
Good luck to all...