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Related Conditions

AGORAPHOBIA

Agoraphobia is the fear of leaving familiar or "safe" surroundings. The fear may occur in the sufferer being scared of having an anxiety or panic attack in public, although attacks can occur at home or in a "safe" place as well, especially if the sufferer is alone.

Symptoms
Causes
Treatments
Research
Agoraphobia Links


Symptoms

The psychological symptoms of agoraphobia may include:

  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Feelings of depression
  • Abuse of tranquillising drugs and alcohol for relief
  • Fear of loss of control
  • Other phobias
  • Loss of self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Frustration and anger with oneself
  • Confusion

    The physical symptoms of agoraphobia may include:

  • A feeling of light-headedness or a feeling of being detached from one's own body
  • Buzzing in the ears, blurring vision, a dry mouth, tingling in the face and arms
  • Difficulty in breathing perhaps breathlessness without any reason
  • A sudden feeling of extreme panic, heart palpitations, indigestion, dizziness, severe backache without apparent cause, headaches and other muscle aches and pains, weakness of the legs, sweating, nausea, shaking hands, fear of fainting, fear of heart attack

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    Causes

    Almost anyone can develop agoraphobia, although it is generally associated with people who are perfectionists, conscientious or have a tendency to be nervous.

    Agoraphobia usually starts with an underlying stress, which might be the result of sudden life changes, losses or separation. This underlying stress may not be recognised, although the sufferer may begin to change their behaviour. The change in behaviour may only be slight to begin with, for example the person may start to restrict going to certain public places. The agoraphobia may only become apparent when these self-imposed restrictions start to disable the person by making them almost completely house-bound.

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    Treatments

    Treatment for agoraphobia is usually very successful and can involve either short-term drug therapy or psychotherapy in a rehabilitation environment. Medicated therapy is usually effective and is only needed for a short period of time.

    Rehabilitation centers or psychotherapy is also useful in helping people with agoraphobia using a cognitive behavioural therapy type treatment method, where the therapist exposes the agoraphobic person the situations that they have been avoiding.

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    Research

    The hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis in agoraphobia, panic disorder, major depression and normal controls.

    A pilot open trial of brief psychodynamic psychotherapy for panic disorder.

    There is also a Health Translations Online Directory that enables you, health practitioners, and those working with culturally and linguistically diverse communities to easily find reliable translated health information.

    The Directory provides web links to online multilingual resources across the health sector including government departments, peak health bodies, hospitals, community health centres and welfare agencies.

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    The factual information on this page was compiled from:
    Agoraphobia Pamphlet (Issued by: Queensland Health)


    COMMENTS
    by people who have had experience with Agoraphobia.

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