What Is Agoraphobia?


Quick Answer

Agoraphobia is the fear of situations and environments that might cause panic, embarrassment or helplessness, defines Mayo Clinic. Agoraphobia often occurs after one panic attack, which causes the individual to fear similar places that may cause similar reactions. Sufferers may have difficulty leaving home or require accompaniment in public places.

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What Is Agoraphobia?
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Full Answer

Fear of losing control in a public place, overdependence on others, fear of being alone in any environment, and fear of places that may be hard to exit are common agoraphobia symptoms, states Mayo Clinic. A panic disorder is sometimes coupled with agoraphobia, which could result in sudden bouts of extreme fear and physical symptoms related to panic attacks. Agoraphobia can also lead to other phobias and anxiety disorders, depression and alcohol and drug misuse. A doctor should be consulted when agoraphobia limits an individualメs ability to perform everyday tasks and prevents one from attending important events.

Agoraphobia is typically treated with both psychotherapy and medication, explains Mayo Clinic. A short-term cognitive behavioral therapy treatment focuses on building a skill set that allows an individual to return to activities once avoided. Therapists may first meet with agoraphobia sufferers in their homes, over the phone or online as opposed to in-office appointments. Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications are often coupled with psychotherapy to treat panic symptoms. Doctors typically gradually reduce antidepressant dosage to avoid withdrawal side effects that may mirror a panic attack.

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