Agoraphobia - Experience

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What is the definition of agoraphobia?

A phobia is generally defined as the severe, unrelenting fear of a situation, activity, or thing that causes one to want to avoid it. The definition of agoraphobia is a fear of being outside or otherwise being in a situation from which one either cannot escape or from which escaping would be difficult or humiliating.

Phobias are largely underreported and underdiagnosed, probably because many phobia sufferers find ways to avoid the situations to which they are phobic. The fact that agoraphobia often occurs in combination with panic disorder makes it even more difficult to track how often it occurs. Other statistics about agoraphobia include that researchers estimate it occurs from less than 1% to almost 7% of the population. Its age of onset is most often during the mid to late 20s.

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Comment from: mary ross, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: May 21

When I was in my late 20s, I developed panic disorder. This became agoraphobia. I could not ride the bus, go to work. I did not leave my house for a year. I finally contacted my third psychiatrist who hospitalized me for 3 days, prescribing a low dose of clonazepam. I was very fragile but eventually became stable. Caution: I had a primary physician who tried to take me off this this is a very bad thing to do. After all these years, I have gone from .05 mg to 1 mg, and sometimes split the 1 mg. As far as I am concerned, clonazepam saved my life.

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Comment from: Jane, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: May 30

My agoraphobia began in 1971. I went to 6 different psychiatrists, none of whom knew what was wrong with me. Finally my medical doctor prescribed anti-depressants, which I have been on for years. It took a month or two for the anxiety/panic attacks to lessen, but now I can function, thank goodness. I am dependent on my husband and do not go anywhere without him, but at least I am able to be out of the house. Without the drugs, I would still be housebound.

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