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A major new book offering support and advice to millions of UK sufferers

Imagine being so scared that you’re too afraid to leave your own home, or finding trips to the supermarket and meals out with friends an ordeal. This is everyday life for the millions of UK sufferers of agoraphobia, a debilitating but worryingly common complication of untreated panic attacks. It is estimated* that up to 6% of the population will be affected by panic disorder with agoraphobia, many of whom will fail to seek professional help of any kind. With this in mind, recovered agoraphobic and award-winning journalist Melissa Murphy, has written ‘Overcoming Agoraphobia’, a new book which aims to help men and women of all ages recognise the symptoms of the condition and get the help they so desperately need to conquer the challenges they face in everyday life.

Agoraphobia is often labelled as nothing more than a fear of open spaces. In truth, it is a fear of being in any place or situation where the sufferer feels unsafe or trapped and is overpowered by an uncontrollable urge to escape to a place of safety. It is a condition twice as common in women as in men, though many males choose to suffer in silence or do not recognise their symptoms as being attributable to agoraphobia.

Overcoming Agoraphobia is an essential read for anyone affected by this disabling anxiety disorder. Interspersed with real-life case studies, the book provides detailed facts on all aspects of agoraphobia including a helpful section on recognising triggers and compelling information on women’s health and the relationship between hormones and anxiety. It is recommended and endorsed by the National Phobics Society and is packed full of useful self-help information.

Author Melissa Murphy explains “I suffered from agoraphobia in my late teens and early twenties so I know first-hand what a devastating condition it can be. Each person’s experience is different – some may be able to venture out with a friend, whilst others might be able to cope with entering small shops or a friend’s house but avoid busy places like shopping centres. At the extreme, some will be too scared to leave their own bedroom.

“Having worked with a number of anxiety charities and support organisations in recent years, it became clear to me that people are confused by the symptoms and often don’t even realise they’re affected until it’s become a very serious problem for them. My hope is that the book will equip sufferers with the knowledge and confidence they need to seek help and support, whilst providing them with practical solutions to assist in rebuilding their lives.”

Overcoming Agoraphobia covers the latest medical research and treatments, as well as addressing practical issues including work and finding support. Topics include:

• symptoms and triggers
• how to access help from your doctor, and medication
• how to get support from family, friends and colleagues and avoid isolation
• body matters – including nutrition, fitness and relaxation
• lifestyle changes
• complementary therapies
• learning how to relax
• women’s health and agoraphobia – how PMS, childbirth and the menopause can trigger agoraphobia

Overcoming Agoraphobia is published by Sheldon Press on 21 August 2008, priced at £7.99. For further information, please visit


Notes to editors:

* Source: data from a range of ECA studies analysed by the Institute of Psychiatry.

Overcoming Agoraphobia is released on 21 August 2008
Price: £7.99
Publisher: Sheldon Press
Specifications: Paperback, 216 x 135mm, 128 pages
ISBN: 9781847090300

About the author:

Melissa Murphy is an award-winning journalist and health writer. She has contributed to a number of national newspapers and magazines including the Daily Express, The Guardian, Natural Health, Women’s Fitness, Healthy and Now. She specialises in writing about stress management and well-being.

In her late teens/early twenties, she was housebound with agoraphobia for a year before she slowly found her path to recovery. She now lives in Bedfordshire with her husband and young daughter and works as a freelance health and education journalist.

Praise for Overcoming Agoraphobia:

“Melissa Murphy has written a book that is extremely significant.” – Margaret Hawkins, Chairperson, NO PANIC

“An essential read for anyone affected by this very disabling anxiety disorder – excellent.” – Nicky Lidbetter, Chief Executive, National Phobics Society

For further information:

For all press enquiries, interview and review copy requests and access to case studies, please contact Lesley Singleton at LS Media on 01234 752 663 / 07852 451 093 or email

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Playtime PR in the following categories: Children & Teenagers, Men's Interest, Health, Women's Interest & Beauty, Medical & Pharmaceutical, for more information visit