Agoraphobia: Symptoms and Causes
Medikoe Health Expert
Koramangala, bengaluru, karnataka, india, Bengaluru Feb 9, 2017
It is a type of anxiety disorder in which you fear and avoid places or situations that might make you feel panic, trapped, helpless or embarrassed. It is more common in women than in men.
The cause is still not known but there are several factors that are known to increase the risk of developing agoraphobia. These include:
- Claustrophobia and social phobia
- Another type of anxiety disorder, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder
- A history of physical or sexual abuse
- A family history of agoraphobia
- Afraid of leaving home for extended periods of time
- Afraid of being alone in the social situation
- Afraid of losing control in a public place
- Afraid of being in places where it would be difficult to escape
- Detached or estranged from others
- Anxious or agitated
It is diagnosed based on symptoms and signs. In order to diagnose with agoraphobia, symptoms need to meet certain listed in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).
You must feel fear and anxiety in two or more of the following situations to be diagnosed with agoraphobia:
- Using public transportation, such as a train or bus
- Being in open spaces, such as a store or parking lot
- Being in enclosed spaces, such as an elevator or car
- Being in a crowd
- Being away from home alone
Psychotherapy: It is also called as talk therapy, this gives you an opportunity to talk about your fears and any issues that may be contributing to your fears.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: It helps you to understand the distorted feelings and views associated with agoraphobia. It can also teach you how to work through stressful situations by replacing the distorted thoughts with healthy thoughts.
Exposure Therapy: In this, you are gently and slowly exposed to the situations or places you fear.
Certain medications can help relieve agoraphobia or panic attack symptoms such as,
- selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
- selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors
- tricyclic antidepressants
- anti-anxiety medications