One of the biggest challenges for someone suffering from agoraphobia is the lack of assistance available, whether private or not, at their own home. Phone any one of the companies that treat agoraphobia, or indeed the public health service and ninety nine times out of a hundred, your plea for help will be met with something along the lines of, “if you would like to come and see us.”

It is nigh on impossible to get help with your agoraphobia if you are unable to travel and most agoraphobics find travelling at best extremely difficult, if not totally unachievable. People just don’t understand how debilitating agoraphobia is. They say things like, “if you get a taxi to pick you up,” “can someone bring you by car,” or “is there a bus stop near your home,” not realising that home for an agoraphobic represents a prison to them (all be it a safe one)!

I recently spoke to Lloyd Watkins of BeOnForm, who is widely regarded as being one of Europe’s leading authorities on agoraphobia. Interestingly he said that most people he treats, contact him after exhausting all the available alternatives. But the surprising thing, he said, was that people were desperate, not because they had tried lots of different therapies in the past, but purely because of the lack of available options.

He went on to say “of all the curable illnesses, agoraphobia is probably, the most difficult to get support for, purely because of the large amount of time involved in its treatment coupled with the unwillingness of therapists to travel to their clients homes. This makes me almost unique in Europe, a sad reflection on society today.”

So what of the future? How important a role will agoraphobia have in changing the way services are delivered? We would all like to see huge changes, that’s for sure, lets hope that one day home visits will once more become more readily available, just like they were fifty years ago, when a doctor visited the sick at home and was respected for it!








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