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- Patient Comments: Agoraphobia - Treatments
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- Agoraphobia facts
- What is the definition of agoraphobia?
- What causes agoraphobia?
- What are agoraphobia symptoms?
- What are the risk factors for agoraphobia?
- When should one seek medical care for agoraphobia?
- What tests do physicians use to diagnose agoraphobia?
- What is the treatment for agoraphobia?
- Are there home remedies for agoraphobia?
- What are the complications of agoraphobia?
- What is the prognosis for agoraphobia?
- Is it possible to prevent agoraphobia?
- Is there information on support groups and coping for both agoraphobia patients, their family members, and other loved ones?
Quick GuideWhat's Your Biggest Fear? Phobias
What is the definition of agoraphobia?
A phobia is usually defined as the severe, unrelenting fear of a situation, activity, or thing that makes one to want to avoid it. The definition of agoraphobia is the severe anxiety about being outside or otherwise being in a situation from which one either cannot escape or from which escaping would be difficult or embarrassing.
Phobias are often underreported and underdiagnosed, likely because many phobia sufferers find ways to avoid the situations to which they are phobic. The fact that agoraphobia often co-occurs with panic disorder makes it even more difficult to determine how often it occurs. Other statistics about agoraphobia include that researchers estimate it occurs from less than 1% to nearly 7% of the population. The age of onset for this condition is most often during the mid to late 20s.
What causes agoraphobia?
There are a number of theories about what can cause agoraphobia. One hypothesis is that agoraphobia develops in response to repeated exposure to anxiety-provoking events. Mental-health theory that focuses on how people react to internal emotional conflicts (psychoanalytic theory) describes agoraphobia as being the result of a feeling of emptiness that comes from an unresolved Oedipal conflict, which is a tension between the feelings the person has toward the opposite-sex parent and a sense of competition with the same-sex parent. Although agoraphobia, like other mental disorders, is related to a number of psychological and environmental risk factors, it also tends to run in families, and for some individuals, may have a clear contributing genetic component. Girls and women are more likely to develop agoraphobia compared to boys and men. For ethnic minorities in the United States, a number of factors influence the likelihood of developing agoraphobia or any other anxiety disorder, like immigration from another country, language proficiency, feeling discriminated against, as well as the specific ethnicity of the individual.