Agoraphobia is a disorder that imprisons its sufferers, leaving people in fear of being in public places as it could cause them to panic. They may experience an overwhelming feeling of helplessness, especially if they are in a crowded area such as a shopping center, which can gradually lead them to avoid leaving their homes at all. This anxiety disorder can interfere greatly with a person’s life, as it takes a toll on them personally and professionally, slowly closing them off from the rest of the world.
Agoraphobia is usually a complication of a panic disorder, so anything can trigger the intense symptoms it brings on, which are not only mental and emotional, but also physical ones. For instance, the tightening of the chest may cause them to believe they are suffering a heart attack. Whatever the case, the symptoms are associated with situations that may have previously led to panic attacks, leaving them with the conclusion that such embarrassing and difficult experiences could be avoided altogether, if they remain within the confines of their safe homes. Others may be able to cope in such situations if accompanied by loved ones.
This disorder can keep people from working, as it becomes increasingly difficult for them to step outside, walk down a crowded street, or end up in a busy environment. As such, many are forced to quit their jobs, or end up losing their jobs, making it impossible to maintain a home, a mortgage, a lifestyle, or keep up with other financial responsibilities.
Five Reasons That Agoraphobia Can Keep You From Working
1. You may be afraid to leave your home, which is a common coping mechanism, causing you to call in sick too often, leading to a job loss.
2. You may be afraid to commute by public transportation, if you don’t drive or own a car, so getting to work may pose a problem.
3. Your job may require you to be in a busy environment, where crowds could develop, such as in a retail store, a courtroom, a classroom, etc.
4. A past embarrassing experience may keep you fearful of experiencing a similar episode that is unbearable to fathom.
5. You may simply be unable to function outside your home, to handle social situations, and/or to focus on necessary tasks.
If for whatever reason you are unable to work as a result of panic attacks due to agoraphobia, you may be eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits. It would benefit you to contact an Olympia disability attorney or a local attorney near you who could, upon examining your unique situation, take the necessary steps to initiate a legal case on your behalf.
An experienced disability attorney will guide you to get the necessary medical documentation that Social Security requires, and see to it that you are followed by a mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist to further strengthen your claims. Moreover, your disability attorney may be able to help you seek alternative benefits to ensure a favorable outcome, even if you don’t qualify for conventional disability benefits.