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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?
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What are agoraphobia symptoms?
Symptoms of agoraphobia include anxiety that one will have a panic attack when in a situation from which escape is not possible or is difficult or humiliating. Examples of such situations include using public transportation, being in open or confined places or being in crowds. The apprehension or panic attacks that can be associated with agoraphobia, like all panic attacks, may involve symptoms and signs like intense fear, disorientation, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, dizziness, or diarrhea. Agoraphobic individuals often begin to avoid the situations that provoke these reactions. Interestingly, the situations that people with agoraphobia avoid and the environments that cause people with balance disorders to feel disoriented are quite similar. This leads some cases of agoraphobia to be considered as vestibular function (related to balance disorders) agoraphobia.
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. However, people who have felt discriminated against are thought to be at higher risk of suffering from a number of anxiety disorders, including agoraphobia.
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.