Agoraphobia:When Fear Of A Panic Attack Takes Over

What is Agoraphobia?

Agoraphobia, a type of anxiety disorder, is the fear of being in a crowded place where escaping would be difficult or where help would not be available if a panic attack occurred. This disorder is most common in women and typically affects those in their mid to late 20’s. Approximately 1% of the population is believed to have agoraphobia.

This disorder, closely related to panic disorder, is often defined as the “fear of open spaces.” Those with this disorder are fearful of feeling vulnerable and exposed and thus often limit themselves to certain “safe zones” or end up never leaving the house. Places that are commonly feared include: elevators, buses, sporting events, lines, bridges or malls. Fear of these places becomes even greater when they are so cautiously avoided. Such avoidance also raises the anxiety level.

Symptoms of Agoraphobia

Specific symptoms associated with agoraphobia include:

Emotional/Psychological

  • Fear of being alone
  • Relying too much on others to take care of your needs
  • Fear of crowded spaces
  • Unable to leave the house
  • Feelings of helplessness
  • Sense of having an unreal body
  • Fear of losing control
  • Panic attacks
  • Fear of being unable to escape a situation

Physical

  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Flushed skin
  • Lightheadedness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Pain in the chest

Additional Psychological Problems

Other psychological problems that may take place along with agoraphobia include:

  • Depression
  • Depersonalisation
  • Panic Attacks
  • Anxiety
  • Behaving obsessively
  • Social Phobia

If depression is a psychological side effect of agoraphobia, depression treatment facilities are available for recovery.

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