Updated on January 31, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
The characteristics of agoraphobia differ from person to person, but this anxiety disorder is characterized by a fear of places that are perceived as unsafe or outside a person’s control. Although no one knows what causes agoraphobia exactly, it’s believed that reoccurring panic attacks can instill a morbid fear of having more panic attacks in situations or places beyond the patient’s control. This makes them afraid of certain locations, causing them to avoid those places. Some agoraphobics can’t even leave their home.
When an agoraphobic’s emotional response gets out of control, they may experience hysteria. Although this is not a scientific term, it’s an apt description for powerful feelings that are more intense than a situation warrants. Anxiety disorders coupled with phobias, like agoraphobia, can lead to a hysterical response when a person is in a position where they feel unsafe. The expression of these overwhelming emotions can be distressful and embarrassing.
The most common treatment for agoraphobia is medication coupled with intense therapy. However, some patients are finding relief from an unconventional source. Medical marijuana is known for helping many patients struggling with anxiety disorders like agoraphobia, and it could be used to manage a hysterical response.
Hysteria is an archaic term that’s no longer used in the medical world. However, it does describe the intense emotional response experienced by many people who suffer from anxiety disorders or phobias. Agoraphobia can lead people to be afraid of crowds, lines, public transportation, closed-in spaces, being outside their home or any place where they feel out of control.
Sometimes, when an agoraphobic is forced into situations where they feel unsafe, the intensity of their response can aptly be described as hysterical. Their emotions spiral out of control, and they’re no longer able to regulate them. Symptoms of agoraphobia-related hysteria include:
All anxiety medication has mood-altering effects. But medical marijuana naturally works with our body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) to provide relief from out-of-control shifts in mood. The ECS is a series of receptors and naturally-produced chemicals that keep our body in equilibrium. The endocannabinoid system plays a role in such physiological functions as immunity, pain perception and emotions.
Marijuana contains its own cannabinoids that resemble those produced by our ECS. These can bind themselves to endocannabinoid receptors bringing about beneficial results. For patients with anxiety-disorders, cannabis can be used to create a sense of calm and relaxation. It can also help them manage delusional or racing thoughts. By giving them a more positive outlook, medical marijuana can help them put aside negative or fearful ideas.
The greatest benefit of cannabis is that by smoking it or using a medical marijuana tincture, the effects of the plant can be felt almost instantaneously. This is perfect for patients experiencing an extreme hysterical response, as it will help them calm their emotions and stabilize.
For some anxiety patients, medical marijuana produces the opposite effect than they wish, and feelings of paranoia or anxiety can increase. Every patient is different, and that’s why it’s important to use cannabis under the direct supervision of a qualified physician. They can recommend dosage or a specific strain and ensure you’re not experiencing adverse side effects.
If you’re interested in medical marijuana and feel it would be a good treatment option for your agoraphobia-related hysteria, contact a marijuana doctor near you for more information.
For more information about how cannabis can be used to treat agoraphobia, check out our resources: