Normal to have anxiety about leaving home?

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Question from Carol: I have anxiety about leaving my house and going out. I am 6 months post treatment and getting more and more "homebound." Is this common, and is there something I can do to help me get back to "normal"?
Answers - Rosalind Kleban, L.C.S.W. I have seen this happen quite often with patients at the Breast Center where I work. People come from all over the world to be treated at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and during treatment they talk about their eagerness to return home. However, when treatment is finished, they're often apprehensive about going so far away from their treatment center. Anxiety is often heightened when treatment is finished because you're no longer protected by medication and the constant attention of the medical staff. With time, this anxiety goes away. Life just intrudes, forces people to return to the life they had before, and that increased anxiety diminishes.
Diane Thompson I agree with Roz that this usually gets better with time, but not in every case. If you find that you are spending more and more time in your home, or experience panic or anxiety attacks when you leave home or try to leave, then it is very important to let your physician know about this. If this is disabling, there are certainly treatments that can be helpful. Both medication and/or talk therapy may be necessary.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Overcoming Depression featured Rosalind Kleban, M.S.W., Diane S. Thompson, M.D., and Jennifer Griggs, M.D., M.P.H. answering your questions about medication and lifestyle changes that can ease depression along with to put hope, fun, and pleasure back into your life during and after breast cancer treatment.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in March 2003.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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