5- Agoraphobia

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5- Agoraphobia

?What Is Agoraphobia

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Agoraphobia is a rare type of anxiety disorder. If you have it, your fears keep you from getting out into the world. You avoid certain places and situations because you think you’ll feel trapped and not be able to get help

For example, you might worry or panic when you are in

Public transportation (buses, trains, ships, or planes)

Large, open spaces (parking lots, bridges)

Closed-in spaces (stores, movie theaters)

Crowds or standing in line

Being outside your home alone

You may be willing to go just a handful of places, or you may even dread leaving your house

Agoraphobia Causes and Risk Factors

Doctors aren’t sure what causes agoraphobia. They think it runs in families. You may get it if you have a lot of panic attacks. That’s when you have bursts of fear that come out of the blue and last for a few minutes. These happen when there’s no real danger

Less than 1% of people in the U.S. have agoraphobia. Women are two to three times more likely to have it than men, and it’s more common in teenagers and young adults

A few other things that can raise your chances of it include having

Panic disorder, especially if it’s not treated

Other phobias

A family member who has agoraphobia

A history of very stressful or traumatic events

Agoraphobia Symptoms

If you have agoraphobia and end up in a place that scares you, you can become very anxious or panic. Physical symptoms of this can include

Fast, pounding heart

Sweating, trembling, shaking

Breathing problems

Feeling hot or cold

Nausea or diarrhea

Chest pain

Problems swallowing

Dizziness or feeling faint

You may feel like

You might not survive a panic attack

You’re not in control

You’ll look bad in front of others or that they’ll stare at you

You need to be with someone you trust when you go anywhere

You also might have

A fear of being alone in your house

A general feeling of dread

Agoraphobia Diagnosis

A lot of the symptoms caused by agoraphobia are the same as those of other medical conditions like heart disease, stomach issues, and breathing problems. So you may make several trips to the doctor or emergency room before you and your doctor figure out what’s really going on

Your doctor may ask

?Do you find it scary or stressful to leave your house

?Do you have to avoid some places or situations

/What happens if you end up in one of the

They’ll do a physical exam and maybe some tests to rule out any other medical problems. If they don’t find a physical reason for your symptoms, they’ll probably recommend that you see a psychiatrist or therapist

At your session, you’ll answer questions about your feelings and your behavior. According to standards created by the American Psychiatric Association, you could be diagnosed with agoraphobia if you feel extreme fear or panic in at least two of these situations

Outside your house by yourself

In an open space, like a parking lot or mall

In an enclosed space, like a theatre or small office

In a line or in a crowd

On public transportation, including planes

Agoraphobia Treatments

Your doctor will usually treat agoraphobia with therapy, medication, or a combination of the two

Therapy. Cognitive therapy can teach you new ways to think about or face situations that cause panic and help you be less afraid. You may also learn relaxation and breathing exercises. Sometimes your therapist may suggest exposure therapy, in which you gradually start to do some of the things that make you anxious

Medicine. There are many drugs that your doctor might suggest for agoraphobia, but the most common are antidepressants. Doctors often start with a low dose of one of these medicines that raises the level of a “feel-good” chemical in your brain called serotonin. Some medications that help balance serotonin are citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram oxalate (Lexapro), fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), and venlafaxine (Effexor)

You’ll probably take medicine for at least 6 months to a year. If you feel better and no longer are stressed when you’re in places that used to scare you, your doctor may begin tapering off your medicine

For short-term relief, your doctor may recommend anti-anxiety medications, called benzodiazepines, in addition to antidepressants. These are sedatives that can help with your symptoms. You can start to depend on them, so you shouldn’t take them for long. And be sure to tell your doctor if you’ve had any issues with alcohol or drug abuse

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