Conditions - Agoraphobia

Agoraphobia and 'The Barrel Effect'

The primary symptom of Agoraphobia is the fear of having a panic attack.  This fear can be so intense, that it severely restricts lives and can often leave people housebound.

In discussing the causes of this illness, I like to explain something called ‘The barrel effect’ which was first brought to my attention by the brilliant clinical psychologist Dr. Roger Callahan, under whose direct supervision, at his clinic in California, I was first introduced to many of the techniques I use so effectively today.

The barrel effect

The barrel effect is discussed in the video ‘Environmentally Sick Schools’ by Dr. Doris Rapp. Whilst Dr Rapp, talks about environmental toxins, I believe the barrel effect is also true of issues which arise in our lives and is therefore an excellent tool for the understanding of this condition.

The body deals with life’s emotional upsets, as if they were being contained in a barrel where they can be isolated before being disposed of. One issue may not necessarily become a problem; however, if the barrel is filled to overflowing, then a problem can develop and the issues spill over to exert a physiological or psychological effect on the body.

The size of the barrel will vary in size, according to each individual and his/her state of health. A very ill, weak person may be said to have a very small barrel in which to isolate issues. A young, vigorous, and healthy person is likely to have a larger barrel and can therefore tolerate greater exposure.

Everyone has a finite sized barrel however and if enough traumatic or emotional upset occurs in someone’s life, the barrel eventually becomes full and overflows.

The point of overflow is frequently triggered by a stressful life event causing anxiety and a panic attack ensues. From this point on, even minor things trigger further attacks. Fear builds, as the possibility of further panic attacks occurring becomes an increasing probability the fear this generates ultimately, leads to an escalation of the symptoms into the condition we know as agoraphobia.

The human body is controlled by the autonomic nervous system, which regulates all organs and systems to maintain the body in optimum performance under the influence of internal and external factors.

Fight or Flight ?

The Autonomic Nervous System is split into two sub systems:

  • The sympathetic nervous system
  • The parasympathetic nervous system

The sympathetic nervous system controls the so-called “fight or flight” response, which is designed to keep us safe and avoid danger.

You can imagine two cavemen on a hunting expedition, encountering an absolutely enormous T Rex. One of the cavemen walks up to the T Rex and is unceremoniously consumed; the other is faced with a decision!

Stress -  fight or floght

Does he stand his ground and fight?
Does he run for it?

At this instant, his sympathetic nervous system is called into action and his brain releases quantities of Adrenaline and Noradrenalin; his blood pressure increases, his heart beats faster and his digestion slows down: he is under the influence of stress.

This particular stress is healthy, as it is preserving life. If the caveman returns to his cave and warns the rest of his tribe about the dangers of T Rex, others will get this stress response without seeing someone eaten themselves, even imagining a T Rex might be enough to produce stress in the tribe from now on.

The stress the caveman faced would have given rise to the following:

  • Acceleration of heart and lung action
  • Inhibition of stomach and intestinal action
  • Constriction of blood vessels in many parts of the body
  • Liberation of nutrients for muscular action
  • Dilation of blood vessels for muscles
  • Inhibition of tear glands and salivation
  • Dilation of pupil
  • Relaxation of bladder
  • Inhibition of erection

Once the immediate threat is over the parasympathetic nervous system takes control and returns the body to normal optimum function. Healthy functioning of both sympathetic nervous system and parasympathetic nervous system allows the body to function effectively.

However, when the barrel is full and overflowing, the control over the autonomic nervous system is affected and efficient regulation of the system breaks down. The various anxiety based disorders including agoraphobia stem from a similar breakdown.

agoraphobia helpagoraphobia help

Fortunately T Rex is a creature of the past. However there are many modern dinosaurs waiting to pounce.

Such things as abuse (whether sexual, physical, verbal or mental), bullying, tragedy, accidents, death, low self esteem and self worth, sexuality issues, loss, crime, loneliness, pain, fear, rejection and trauma are not infrequent visitors to many peoples lives and these help to form the foundations upon which this illness is built.

Traditional Treatment Methods

Traditionally, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) has been the treatment of choice worldwide for treating this condition. However, CBT has a major disadvantage in that part of the treatment involves ‘Graded Exposure’ which entails confronting your fears head on, all be it slowly and gradually in a staged approach.

The main problems with CBT have been perceived by many as being:

  • Lack of speed and lengthy treatment duration
  • Achievement of only a desensitising rather than complete removal of the symptoms
  • Having to face those same fears which keep sufferers housebound
  • Difficulty in receiving treatment at home
  • Additional uneasiness, brought about by thinking about having to undergo CBT
  • Having to endure exposure to deep rooted fears with the possibility of the treatment not working.
  • No guarantees, nobody is prepared to commit to CBT being 100% successful.

Other traditional treatments rely on the use of various drugs such as:

  • Tri-cyclic antidepressants (TCAs)
  • Buspirone
  • SSRIs, such as Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil
  • Agents, such as Ativan and Klonopin

People with symptoms requiring these medicines often experience particularly strong and negative side effects as many people with anxiety disorders are hypersensitive to medications. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: It is essential you consult with your doctor or psychiatrist about any medication.

The Modern BeOnForm Approach for Agoraphobia Treatment

Rather than treating the symptoms, the highly efficient modern methods used by BeOnForm concentrate on tackling the root causes.

Just as the wall of a fortress must have solid foundations to remain impenetrable, so too must agoraphobia rely on deep seated emotional roots to create the foundations of such a seemingly unconquerable, debilitating condition. Tackling these foundations is where modern methods excel, because they offer extremely fast and efficient resolution to problems that traditional methods have been unable to consistently deal with. And, once the foundations are undermined, the condition collapses.

Groundbreaking new discoveries in Quantum Physics have proved beyond doubt that the mind body interconnection is not only real, but vital in controlling our health

BeOnForm are proud to be at the forefront of this technology, which targets the very foundations of this debilitating condition


Lloyd Watkins, our lead practitioner, is an expert in the field of this new technology and teaches other mind body medicine practitioners, the advanced techniques required of them to the exacting standards set by the National Health Service (NHS)

At present Lloyd conducts all agoraphobia treatment personally, presenting an unequalled opportunity for anyone seriously wanting to overcome the limitations this terrible illness presents, to be treated by the expert in the field.

To obtain fast effective relief phone 0870 760 2819
or Email us at

Lloyd does not prescribe or issue any drugs or other medication and uses only holistic non invasive treatment methods that have been proven to work consistently.

Contact us Now for Agoraphobia Treatment !

Terms & Conditions | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | ©2006 BeOnForm