While the pandemic has introduced many problems in the lives of people around the world, for some, it has triggered some pre-existing issues, especially to do with mental health. Among them is Kim Kardashian, who recently opened up about her anxiety.
The American socialite, reality TV star and businesswoman admitted in an episode of the final season of Keeping Up With The Kardashians — a clip of which made rounds earlier this week — that she felt like she had agoraphobia during quarantine, especially after her anxiety was first sparked when she was robbed at gunpoint in Paris, a few years ago.
The Skims founder, 40, candidly talked about her fears, telling her sister Khloe that she “definitely” had agoraphobia after the Paris robbery in 2016, and while being in quarantine during the pandemic, she felt all those feelings resurface.
“I came to Malibu not too long ago and went to Nobu, and I have not left my house really since quarantine. I was so freaked out,” she told her sister of her first outing after quarantine, with estranged husband Kanye West, adding: “People were trying to come up to Kanye and talk to him and come up to me and ask for photos. And I was just like, ‘Absolutely not’. I would stop people and be like ‘Get away. Get away. This is my first time out. I’m not comfortable with you coming a step closer’.”
“I feel like I had agoraphobia definitely after my robbery in Paris,” Kim continued. “I hated to go out, I didn’t want anybody to know where I was and didn’t want to be seen. I just had such anxiety.” She also said she had just begun travelling again and felt like she was finally feeling better and recovering from her trauma when the pandemic hit in 2020. And it aggravated her anxiety.
To understand more about agoraphobia, indianexpress.com reach out to consultant psychiatrist and counselling therapist Dr Ruhi Satija, who said it is “a form of anxiety disorder in which one experiences intense fear, worry, or panic in public places, and has a dreadful feeling that something wrong might happen and there will be no escape”.
The doctor said that according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), agoraphobia involves intense fear or anxiety that occurs in, or when anticipating, at least two of the following five situations:
1. Using public transportation such as cars, buses, trains, ships, or planes.
2. Being in open spaces such as parking lots, market places, or bridges.
3. Being in enclosed spaces such as shops, theaters, or cinemas.
4. Standing in line or being in a crowd.
5. Being outside the house, alone.
“If these symptoms persist for more than six months, and occur nearly every time you encounter the place or situation, a diagnosis of agoraphobia is made,” said Dr Satija.
The physical and mental symptoms of agoraphobia can include:
* Avoidance; the person suffering spends a lot of time and energy avoiding situations that might trigger anxiety.
* Increased heart rate
* Shortness of breath
* Muscle tension
* Feeling nauseous
* Muscle weakness
* Feeling hot or cold
* Fear of losing control
* Feelings of doom or dread
* A general sense of unease
* Feeling detached from your body, known as dissociation
The doctor also said that agoraphobia is a treatable condition.
“Psychotherapy, or talking therapy, is an effective treatment for agoraphobia. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common method used for anxiety disorders. Sometimes, if anxiety is severe, your psychiatrist will consider medications.”