AgoraphobiaAgoraphobia is an anxiety disorder characterized by anxiety in situations where the sufferer perceives the environment to be dangerous, uncomfortable, or unsafe. Agoraphobia is defined within the DSM-IV TR as a subset of panic disorder, involving the fear of incurring a panic attack in those environments. In the DSM-5, however, agoraphobia is classified as being separate from panic disorder. Agoraphobia symptoms include: Fear of being alone in any situation, Fear of being in crowded places, Fear of losing control in a public place, Fear of being in places where it may be hard to leave, Inability to leave your home (housebound) or only able to leave it if someone else goes with you, Sense of helplessness, Overdependence on others. In addition, you may have signs and symptoms of a panic attack, such as: Rapid heart rate, Excessive sweating, Trouble breathing, Feeling shaky, numb or tingling etc.
Causes of agoraphobia are unknown. Some of the expected causes are Substance induced, Attachment theory, Spatial theory, Evolutionary psychology. Agoraphobia is best understood as an adverse behavioral outcome of repeated panic attacks and subsequent anxiety and preoccupation with these attacks that leads to an avoidance of situations where a panic attack could occur. Early treatment of panic disorder can often prevent agoraphobia. Agoraphobia is typically determined when symptoms are worse than panic disorder, but also do not meet the criteria for other anxiety disorders such as depression.
Cognitive and behavioral treatments provide lasting relief to the majority of patients with panic disorder and agoraphobia. Medications such as Antidepressant medications most commonly used to treat anxiety disorders are mainly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Benzodiazepines, MAO inhibitors, and tricyclic antidepressants are also sometimes prescribed for treatment of agoraphobia. Alternative treatments like Eye movement desensitization and reprogramming (EMDR) has been studied as a possible treatment for agoraphobia but has poor results.