By Emma Dooney
The Woman in the Window has sparked an important dialogue on mental illness through its powerful depiction of agoraphobia, one of the lesser-known clinical anxiety disorders.
The Netflix thriller invites viewers into the world of Anna Fox, a child psychologist whose diagnosis of the complex condition prevents her from leaving her home.
Played by Amy Adams, Anna leads a lonely existence within the four walls of her New York apartment, where she spends her days drinking alcohol, taking medication, and observing others through her window.
Her mental health drastically deteriorates after she witnesses her neighbor, Jane (Julianne Moore), being stabbed to death by her husband. She reports the murder to the police, only to be told that no such crime has occurred. The incident plunges her into a state of total disarray, prompting her to question her grasp on reality as she desperately seeks to find out the truth.
Read more from woman&home:
• The best sleep guided meditations for drifting off at night
• The best workouts for getting fit and feeling good
• The best yoga mats for stretching, meditation, beginners, and advanced workouts
What is agoraphobia?
The Woman in the Window's Anna Fox suffers from agoraphobia, an anxiety disorder that causes the individual to avoid certain environments and/or situations. This avoidance is driven by an intense fear that the person will be unable to escape the setting, of which they typically have a negative perception.
The condition can severely impact a person's day-to-day functioning, making regular tasks incredibly stressful or even impossible to complete. Agoraphobic individuals commonly avoid busy public places, like shopping malls and city centers, as well as enclosed spaces like elevators and movie theatres.
What causes agoraphobia?
While the exact cause of agoraphobia remains unknown, there are a number of risk factors for developing the condition.
Agoraphobia often emerges after a person has a panic attack in a particular environment. The person is left with a deep-rooted fear of the site of the episode, causing them to avoid it altogether.
Agoraphobia can also develop following a traumatic event, like a violent crime, or as the result of an irrational fear associated with going outdoors.
How is agoraphobia treated?
Fortunately, there are many treatment options available for agoraphobia.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is often used to help individuals with the condition, by altering negative thought patterns and consequently shifting one's behavior.
Exposure therapy is another commonly used treatment. People with agoraphobia learn to manage their anxiety by imagining or inserting themselves in the feared situation, where they can practice self-soothing techniques and gradually relieve their anxiety.
Lifestyle interventions, such as exercise and meditation, have also been shown to alleviate symptoms of agoraphobia.
Emma is a news writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life. She covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health or lifestyle story. When she's not reporting on the British monarchy and A-list celebs, you can find her whipping up vegan treats and running the roads to cheesy '90s pop music...but not at the same time, obviously.
Christmas tree skirts that will add the perfect finishing touch to your tree this year
Christmas tree skirts are an easy and stylish way to spruce up your tree by hiding the stand or pot it is sitting in. This year's selection includes wicker, faux fur, quilted skirts and more.
By Amy Hunt •
Prince William admits that his son Prince George gets 'annoyed' and 'confused' when people litter
The eight-year-old is learning about the environment and how to make the world a nicer place to live in
By Sarah Finley •