What is it?

Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder which is characterized by a fear and avoidance of situations that might make these people feel trapped, helpless, panicked, embarrassed or scared. Some people who suffer from agoraphobia develop it after having one or more panic attacks, making them wanting to avoid these feelings. Agoraphobia can present in children but it usually starts in the late teen or early adult years. Women are more likely to get it than men. Risk factors include suffering from panic attacks or other phobias, experiencing stressful life events, family history of agoraphobia and having an anxious temperament.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Agoraphobia Without Panic Attacks

Signs & symptoms

Agoraphobia symptoms may include fear of leaving home alone, fear of crowds or standing in line, fear of enclosed places like movie theatres or stores, fear of being in an open space such as malls, fear of using public transportation, detachment and estrangement from others, feeling anxious or agitated. The fear is out of proportion to the actual danger of the situation. They suffer from significant distress or poprnlemos with social situations. The phobia and avoidance must last at least 6 months. People with agoraphobia may experience panic attacks and symptoms like chest pain, tachycardia, shortness of breath, dizziness, trembling, sweating, chills, nausea, diarrhea and fear of dying.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis criteria for agoraphobia by DSM-5:
-A marked fear or anxiety about two (or more) of the following five situations:
Using public transportation
Being in open spaces
Being in enclosed spaces (e.g., shops, theaters, cinemas)
Standing in line or being in a crowd
Being outside the home alone.
-The situations are avoided (e.g., travel is restricted) or else are endured with marked distress or with anxiety about having a panic attack or panic-like symptoms, or require the presence of a companion.
- The agoraphobic situations almost always provoke fear or anxiety.
-The fear or anxiety is out of proportion to the actual danger posed by the agoraphobic situations and to the sociocultural context.
-The fear, anxiety, or avoidance is persistent, typically lasting 6 months or more.
-The fear, anxiety, or avoidance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in important areas of functioning.
-The anxiety or phobic avoidance is not better accounted for by another mental disorder.

Treatment

Treatment for agoraphobia includes psychotherapy such as coginitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and medications such as SSRIs or Anti-anxiety medication such as benzodiazepines.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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