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Bridge-specific agoraphobia. A r...

Posted Oct 22 2008 6:16pm

Bridge-specific agoraphobia.
A recent article discusses panic sufferers whose attacks are triggered by driving over bridges. From the article:

Lots of people sometimes get jittery when driving over a bridge, even a familiar one. But someone with a panic disorder — those who experience repeated panic attacks, physical symptoms similar to a heart attack, and the belief that they will occur again — changes their behavior for fear of what might happen to them. They might have their spouse drive over the bridge or take the long way to avoid crossing it...

Often, the issue isn't the bridge itself. It's the perception of being in a place that's seen as threatening or dangerous, or from which there's no escape. So a person who has a panic attack on a bridge associates the bridge as the cause.

The lucky few whose primary nemesis is New York State's Tappan Zee Bridge have a way out, whether they know it or not:
In the event a panic attack does strike as you're approaching the Tappan Zee Bridge, fear not.

The state Thruway Authority will dispatch one of its workers to drive your car over the bridge.

If only I could get the folks at my nemesis, the Bay Bridge between San Francisco and Oakland, to adopt a similar policy.
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