Definition: A morbid fear of open spaces/public places
The word “agoraphobia” comes from two Greek words that mean “fear” and “marketplace”. The anxiety associated with agoraphobia leads to avoidance of situations that involve being outside one’s home alone, being in crowds, being on a bridge, or traveling by car or public transportation. Agoraphobia may intensify to the point that it interferes with a person’s ability to take a job outside the home or to carry out such ordinary errands and activities as picking up groceries or going out to a movie. People with agoraphobia appear to suffer from two distinct types of anxiety. Panic, and the anticipatory anxiety related to fear of future panic attacks. Patients with agoraphobia are sometimes able to endure being in the situations they fear by “gritting their teeth”, or by having a friend or relative accompany them The symptoms of agoraphobia can be similar to those of specific phobia and social phobia. In agoraphobia and specific phobia, the focus is fear itself; with social phobia, the person’s focus is on how others are perceiving him/her. Patients diagnosed with agoraphobia tend to be more afraid of their own internal physical sensations and similar cues than of the reactions of others perse. In cases of specic phobia, the person fears very specific situations, whereas in agoraphobia, the person generally fears a variety of fears (being outside of home alone, or traveling on public transportation. Differential diagnosis of agoraphobia “can be difficult because of all these conditions are characterized by avoidance of specific situations.
* Genetic: It has been known that for some years that anxiety disorders tend to run in families. * Innate Temperament: A number of researchers have pointed to inborn temperament as a broad vulnerability factor in the development of anxiety and mood disorders. * Physiological Reaction to Illness: Another factor in the...
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