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Agoraphobia, Definition, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention, Complications

What is Agoraphobia? This means that is one type of anxiety disorder in humans, where people who suffer from it will feel excessive fear and want to always avoid places or situations that can cause a sense of panic or make him embarrassed, trapped, and helpless. The situation is for example, among others, when they use mass transportation, in public crowds, or are in line. Open spaces such as parking lots and bridges, as well as enclosed spaces such as shops and cinemas can also make agoraphobia sufferers worry. Most agoraphobia disorders develop into greater after the sufferer has experienced one or several panic attacks.

If they are forced to go to public places, agoraphobia sufferers will feel the need to be accompanied by people they trust, such as close friends or family members, because they always feel insecure.

Symptoms of Agoraphobia

The symptoms felt by agoraphobia sufferers can be grouped into three groups, namely:


  • Physical symptoms, usually this event only appears when a patient is in a situation or environment that can trigger anxiety. Physical symptoms of agoraphobia, including rapid heartbeat and breathing, will feel hot and sweat a lot, chest pain, dizziness, tinnitus, feeling unwell, diarrhea, difficulty swallowing, feeling faint and trembling.
  • Cognitive symptoms, namely the feelings or thoughts of patients with Agoraphobia that can be associated with physical symptoms. Some cognitive symptoms of agoraphobia include extreme fear and panic attacks that can be life-threatening and make the sufferer look like a fool. If a panic attack occurs, agoraphobia sufferers feel that they cannot escape the situation. Agoraphobia sufferers also feel afraid of losing sanity, lack of self-control, and will be the center of attention of those around them.
  • Symptoms of behavior, for example, sufferers avoid situations that are vulnerable and can cause panic attacks, such as being in public transportation, lines, or crowded people. The sufferer will also avoid going out of the house or not leaving his house for quite some time and will need someone he trusts to accompany him out.

Causes and Risk Factors of Agoraphobia

Until now, the exact cause of agoraphobia has still not been found. Agoraphobia generally develops as a complication of panic attacks on sufferers. This can be caused by a way of avoiding and fear that is experienced by excessive panic attacks. Biological factors and health or hereditary conditions, nature and behavior, pressure from the environment, and life experiences of sufferers usually play a role in the development of agoraphobia.

Some other causes besides panic disorders that can increase a person's risk of developing agoraphobia are:

  • Age. Agoraphobia begins to be felt when someone is still a child, but usually only felt when someone enters the transition phase from adolescence to adulthood. This happens before reaching the age of 35 years.
  • Suffering from a phobia. In addition to the panic disorder, Agoraphobia can also be caused by an excessive fear/phobia of something.
  • Have experienced a traumatic experience, such as torture or death of a beloved family.
  • Agrophobia Has an easily anxious and nervous nature.
  • Have family members who also suffer from agoraphobia.

Diagnosis of Agoraphobia

When a patient is suspected of suffering from agoraphobia, the diagnosis will be taken based on:

  • Emerging symptoms and clinical signs in patients.
  • In-depth interviews with Agoraphobia patients, which will be done by doctors, psychiatrists, or psychologists.
  • Physical examination, this aims to identify other causes.

Agoraphobia Treatment and Prevention

The treatment steps that will be taken to overcome agoraphobia are:

  • Psychotherapy. Agoraphobia sufferers will be assisted by a psychiatrist or psychologist to learn to minimize symptoms of anxiety. Examples of therapies that are usually done are exposure therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy.
  • Consumption of medicines. Your doctor will usually prescribe an anti-anxiety drug or antidepressant medication to relieve symptoms of anxiety in patients.

Actually, there is no definite step to prevent agoraphobia. However, sufferers' anxiety tends to increase if sufferers always avoid the feared situation. If you currently suffer from agoraphobia, try to practice overcoming and controlling your fear of going somewhere. Invite your beloved family member or good friend to go together to a place you fear.

Complications of Agoraphobia

If you don't get good treatment right away, this agoraphobia disorder will limit your daily activities. Even Agoraphobia sufferers can feel scared to leave their homes for years. Here are some complications that can be experienced by sufferers of agoraphobia:

  • Become alcohol and drug dependence.
  • Having other mental disorders, such as anxiety disorders or personality disorders.
  • Experiencing Depression.

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