Health

Agoraphobia – Is It Just The Fear Of Public Places?

Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder that leaves one in the crippling fear of being in situations that can trigger panic attacks. People with agoraphobia tend to strictly avoid situations that may leave them embarrassed, panicked, or afraid. They do not visit places that they have had bad experiences at or where there can be no help or escape route easily found.

This means that individuals with this mental condition avoid both open and enclosed places. While they avoid going outside without someone else they trust, they also avoid crowds. They may even avoid getting on public transport. A person with agoraphobia may just confine himself to home and prefer to order things online.

He may even be well aware that his fear is baseless but can do nothing about it. His fear is accompanied by the physical symptoms of a panic attack.

Symptoms Of Agoraphobia

This anxiety disorder comes with three sets of symptoms; physical, cognitive, and behavioral. The physical symptoms of this condition occur when a person is anxious. These symptoms are very much like those of a panic attack. They include palpitations, nausea, diarrhea, chest pain, trembling, dizziness, feeling faint, and tinnitus.

The cognitive symptoms of this condition range from fear to embarrassment. Fear of looking silly, fear of losing one’s life or sanity, of not being able to escape or losing control. Anxiety and the feeling that one cannot survive without other’s assistance also come under the umbrella of the condition’s mental symptoms.

Behavioral symptoms of the condition include avoiding triggering places and situations, not leaving home at all, not going anywhere without someone trustworthy, not going far from home.

Causes Of Agoraphobia

The causes of agoraphobia are not yet known. However, risk factors for developing the anxiety disorder include depression, another phobia, another anxiety disorder, history of abuse, and genetics. Like most other anxiety disorders, agoraphobia is more common among women than among men. The average age of onset of agoraphobia is 20.

Treatment Options

Agoraphobia has 0.8% of Americans in its fold. If you think you might be developing the condition, get in touch with your doctor immediately. This condition can be treated through prescribed medications and therapy. Typically, a combination of both of these is used for the treatment of agoraphobia. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is used for the treatment of the ailment.

Apart from heading for professional treatment, one should also go for self-help guides and educate himself about the anxiety disorder. What’s more, he can also seek support by joining support groups. Lifestyle changes like exercising regularly and eating healthy can also be of assistance.

Verdict

Agoraphobia is a mental ailment that makes one fear being out of his home. A person with this anxiety disorder experiences physical symptoms similar to those of a panic attack, cognitive symptoms of fear and embarrassment, and behavioral symptoms of avoidance. The condition can be treated by going for therapy, medications, or both.

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