- 10 Ways to Stop Stress
- Quiz: Can You Stop a Panic Attack?
- Coping With an Anxiety Disorder
- Patient Comments: Agoraphobia - Treatments
- Patient Comments: Agoraphobia - Experience
- Patient Comments: Agoraphobia - Symptoms
- Find a local Psychiatrist in your town
- 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?
- How do physicians diagnose agoraphobia?
- What is the treatment 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 GuidePhobias Picture Slideshow: What Are You Afraid Of?
What are the risk factors for agoraphobia?
Agoraphobia tends to begin by adolescence or early adulthood. Girls and women, Native Americans, middle-aged individuals, low-income populations, and individuals who are either widowed, separated, or divorced are at increased risk of developing agoraphobia. Individuals who are Asian, Hispanic, or of African/African-American descent tend to have a lower risk of developing this disorder.
Having a history of panic attacks is a risk factor for developing agoraphobia. Agoraphobic individuals are at increased risk for developing panic attacks, as well. Other anxiety disorders that tend to co-occur with agoraphobia include social anxiety disorder (social phobia) and generalized anxiety disorder. Even the use of alcohol can result in severe, albeit temporary anxiety.
When should one seek medical care for agoraphobia?
Call a doctor when the signs and symptoms of anxiety are not easily, quickly, and clearly relieved. For example,
- if the symptoms are so severe that medication may be needed,
- if the symptoms are interfering with someone's personal, social, or professional life,
- if someone has chest pain, shortness of breath, headaches, palpitations, dizziness, fainting spells, or unexplained weakness,
- if someone is depressed or feeling suicidal or homicidal.
When the signs and symptoms suggest that anxiety may have been present for a prolonged period (more than a few days) and appear to be stable (not getting significantly worse), it's advisable to make an appointment with a doctor for evaluation. But when the signs and symptoms are severe and come on suddenly, they may indicate serious medical illness that needs immediate evaluation and treatment in a hospital's emergency department.