Agoraphobia (cont.)

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What are the complications of agoraphobia?

Agoraphobia increases the likelihood that the person will also suffer from another anxiety disorder and that both conditions will be more severe and difficult to treat. People with agoraphobia are more at risk for developing alcohol use disorder. Also, agoraphobia tends to occur more often in individuals who have a number of different physical conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and asthma. If left untreated, agoraphobia may worsen to the point at which the person's life is seriously affected by the disease itself and/or by attempts to avoid or conceal it. In fact, some people have had problems with friends and family, failed in school, and/or lost jobs while struggling to cope with severe agoraphobia or another severe phobia.

What is the prognosis for agoraphobia?

While there may be periods of spontaneous improvement of symptoms for people with agoraphobia, the condition does not usually go away unless the person receives treatments designed specifically to help agoraphobia sufferers. One significant challenge of agoraphobia is revealed by the statistics related to treatment. Specifically, less than half of individuals with this illness are receiving treatment in the United States at any one time. Further, alcoholics can be up to 10 times more likely to suffer from a phobia than those who are not alcoholics, and phobic individuals can be twice as likely to be addicted to alcohol as are people who have never been phobic.

Is it possible to prevent agoraphobia?

As agoraphobia often develops as a fearful reaction to having panic attacks, prevention of agoraphobia tends to focus on developing ways to cope with the anxiety about the possibility of another panic attack without avoiding leaving one's home. The treatments for agoraphobia previously described are usually used to prevent its development as well

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/4/2014

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