Prince Harry revealed in his new book that he suffered from agoraphobia, an anxiety disorder that makes people afraid to leave their homes.
“I was agoraphobic. Given my public role, this was nearly impossible,” Harry wrote in his memoir Spare. It will be officially published on January 10th, but was released early in Spain and translated by NBC News.
He recalled “one speech that I couldn’t avoid or cancel and nearly passed out”, after which his brother Prince William came backstage and laughed at him, saying he was “soaked”. increase.
“He of all. He was present at my first panic attack. With Kate. We were out in a Range Rover to a polo match in Gloucestershire. I was in the back and Willie was in the back.” He was staring at me at the ‘He saw me sweating and blushing,'” Harry wrote.
“Are you okay, Harold?” No, it wasn’t. Since it was a few hour trip, I would have him stop the car every few miles and jump out to try and catch my breath. “
What is Agoraphobia?
Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder involving intense fear and anxiety in difficult-to-evacuate situations, says Boston clinical psychologist, treats anxious adults, and psychiatric instructor at Harvard Medical. said Dr. Jacqueline Bullis. school.
This includes traveling on planes or other forms of public transport, waiting in line, being in crowds, going to the cinema or grocery store, or sitting for a haircut. Bliss points out that he had the urge to leave.
“Agraphobia, previously thought of as this fear of open spaces, is now understood as the fear of fear,” Bliss tells TODAY.com.
“The fear of experiencing distress and panic-like symptoms in the situation is more important, and it can be really difficult or really embarrassing to escape from.”
Symptoms they fear include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, sweating, chest pain, dizziness and lightheadedness.
When considering diagnosing a person with agoraphobia, Bliss asks whether anxiety is caused by the expectation of feeling panic symptoms and how it impairs a person’s ability to live and work. I’m trying to find out
How does agoraphobia affect a person’s life?
As people avoid more places, it quickly becomes very restrictive. In the very severe terminal stages of agoraphobia, people can become completely housebound, says Bliss.
“Someone’s world is getting smaller and smaller,” she notes.
People also try to make everything very soothing, and exercise, have sex, consume caffeinated drinks, watch scary movies, etc., that cause a heartbeat or other physical sensations that cause distress or strong emotions. You may try to avoid activities that cause
In the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Agoraphobia is considered to be a distinct diagnosis that can occur without a history of panic attacks, but they do not occur together. Common, says Bliss.
How does a public figure like Prince Harry function with agoraphobia?
Prince Harry has always seemed comfortable giving speeches, appearing at public events and interacting with crowds, but Bliss, who doesn’t deal with princes, said looks can be deceiving. increase.
“We often don’t get to see the situation in which someone is suffering, and this may be the case with Harry in some of these situations,” she notes. .
“It’s possible he’s in this situation, but it’s incredibly painful and exhausting for him.”
For many people with agoraphobia, being with a friend, loved one, or someone they feel safe with often greatly reduces their anxiety.
How many people are affected?
The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 1.3% of adults in the United States experience agoraphobia at some point in their lives.
That makes it one of the rarer anxiety disorders. Social anxiety disorder, for example, is experienced by about 12% of adults in the United States, notes the NIH.
Researchers are trying to understand why some people are more prone to developing anxiety disorders than others. It is thought to be a combination of how we interpret our emotions.
What is the treatment?
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is the first line of treatment, Bullis said.
Some people also take beta-blockers (drugs used to treat high blood pressure and heart rhythm disorders), which can reduce physical sensations. However, it can backfire in the long run. It teaches people things they can’t handle on their own, says Bliss.
The goal is for someone to become more comfortable with those physical sensations through therapy. I know I can still tell this story or I can still get into this situation and I know I am safe.