Agoraphobia

  • Medical Author:
    Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD

    Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Quick GuideWhat's Your Biggest Fear? Phobias

What's Your Biggest Fear? Phobias

Are there home remedies for agoraphobia?

While people often explore and attempt to address anxiety with alternative treatments, sometimes described as home remedies, there remains a lack of large-scale, controlled scientific research to indicate a clear benefit of such interventions. Examples of oral alternative treatments include kava, Rhodiola, and tryptophan. Another challenge with these remedies is that there is little regulation of the doses and other ingredients for such substances. Lifestyle interventions that may help decrease anxiety include adhering to a healthy diet, regular exercise, engaging in meditation, and yoga.

What are the complications of agoraphobia?

Agoraphobia increases the likelihood that the person will also suffer from another anxiety disorder, like social or other phobias, panic disorder or anxiety associated with posttraumatic stress disorder. Agoraphobia also predisposes sufferers to having more severe and difficult to treat anxiety disorders of any kind. People with agoraphobia are more at risk for developing alcohol or other drug use disorders. Also, agoraphobia tends to occur more often in individuals who have a number of different physical conditions, like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and asthma. If not treated, agoraphobia may worsen to the point at which the person's life is seriously impacted by the disease itself and/or by attempts to avoid or hide it. In fact, some people have had problems with loved ones, failed in school, and/or lost jobs while trying 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, it does not usually go away unless the person receives treatment specifically for agoraphobia sufferers. Some research has indicated a more chronic and debilitating course of agoraphobia in African-American individuals compared to Caucasians. One significant challenge of agoraphobia is revealed by the statistics related to treatment. Specifically, less than half of individuals with this condition in the United States are receiving treatment at any one time. Further, alcoholics can be up to 10 times more likely to suffer from a phobia than those who do not have alcohol use disorder, and phobic individuals can be twice as likely to be addicted to alcohol as are people who have never been phobic.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/4/2016

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