Psychotherapy is an important part of treatment for agoraphobia. Though agoraphobia is often related to a chemical imbalance in the brain, talk therapy can help patients determine how to face and deal with their fears. Cognitive behavioral therapy is often used to help patients address and modify their irrational fear responses to stimuli. When used for agoraphobia, cognitive behavioral therapy tends to be a short-term treatment method similar to taking a class. There are several different skills and facts patients will learn throughout the process. The patient and their therapist may identify the factors most likely to trigger panic symptoms or panic attacks, and they can figure out what makes the symptoms worse. Patients will learn coping methods for identifying and tolerating their anxiety symptoms, along with ways to challenge their fears that bad things will happen. Part of therapy is also learning to tolerate situations until the anxiety surrounding them lessens, since consistent exposure to fear stimuli helps deal with the fear. Exposure therapy may be a part of a patient's cognitive behavioral therapy.
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