Agoraphobia and symptoms : Signs, causes, treatment

agoraphobia and symptoms

Health and information – Agoraphobia and symptoms have many types that cause them. However, before knowing more about agoraphobia and symptoms, we better know the exposure to agoraphobia. Here’s the information for you.

Agoraphobia is a type of anxiety disorder in which there is excessive fear of open spaces or public places. Sufferers usually avoid places or situations that might cause panic, feeling trapped, helpless, or embarrassed.

Situations or places that can trigger can include using public transportation, being in a public open or closed space, standing in line, or being in a crowd.

Sufferers may feel that they need someone, such as relatives or friends, to go out together in public places. The fear can be so great that the sufferer cannot leave the house and interfere with daily activities.

The fear that is felt because of the fear of not being able to find solutions or help as the anxiety becomes stronger. Usually, people with agoraphobia have experienced panic attacks that develop into agoraphobia.

What are the signs of agoraphobia and symptoms?

Based on the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which is the guide for the American Psychiatrist Association, the criteria for agoraphobic disorders are:

1. There is fear or anxiety that is evident in at least two of the five situations below:

  • Using public transportation (for example: buses, trains, etc.)
  • Located in the open (for example: markets, bridges, parking lots, etc.)
  • Being in a closed place (for example: shops, cinemas, etc.)
  • Queuing up or being in a crowd
  • Being outside alone

2. People avoid these situations because they find it difficult to escape or help won’t be available when panic or embarrassing symptoms (for example, fear of falling into a parent’s arms, or fear of wetting the bed in public) develop.

3. Persistent anxiety, fear, or avoidance for six months or more.

4. Fear, anxiety, or avoidance disturbs aspects of an individual’s life (eg, social life, work, etc.).

5. If there are certain medical conditions, fear, anxiety, and avoidance are still excessive.

6. Fear, anxiety, or avoidance cannot be explained by symptoms of other mental disorders, such as specific or situation-dependent phobias, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, body dysmorphic disorder, post-traumatic disorder. , or separation anxiety disorder

7. These situations can almost always trigger immediate fear or anxiety.

8. These situations are actively avoided, require the presence of a known person, or are held back with intense fear or anxiety.

9. The feeling of anxiety or fear that is felt is not in accordance with the actual threat that occurs in these situations and in the socio-cultural context.

What are the causes of agoraphobia?

The cause of agoraphobia is not certain. However, it is estimated that there are several factors that can affect it, such as:

  • Health and genetic conditions
  • Individuals who respond to panic attacks with excessive fear and avoidance
  • Stress in the environment and previous traumatic experiences, such as being abused, dying a parent, or being attacked
  • Have family members who have agoraphobia (possibly inherited)
  • An anxious person with a temper
  • Individuals who have panic disorder or other phobias

Diagnosis of agoraphobia

Agoraphobia is diagnosed based on specific criteria that are detected through:

  1. Symptoms or signs being experienced
  2. In-depth examination with doctors and other mental health professionals
  3. Physical exam for other conditions that may be causing symptoms
  4. Diagnosis from the criteria in the DSM-5

What types of treatment are right for agoraphobia?

Agoraphobia can be treated with the following actions:

A. Medication

Which is in the form of antidepressant and anti-anxiety drugs.

B. Psychotherapy

One type of psychotherapy that is effective in dealing with agoraphobia is cognitive behavioral therapy.

Cognitive behavioral therapy can help sufferers learn to identify what triggers panic attack symptoms and what aggravates them, how to manage and tolerate the symptoms experienced, ways to deal with anxiety-provoking thoughts. , and how to change unwanted unhealthy behavior with desenticization techniques or exposure therapy, which place the patient in a situation or condition that makes him fear and anxious safely.

If you have agoraphobia, there are several things you can do, including:

  1. Continue to follow the treatment given.
  2. Learn techniques for coping with stress and relaxation, such as meditation, yoga, and so on
  3. Avoid smoking, alcohol, caffeine, and narcotics.
  4. Tell stories with the closest people about problems experienced or join communities with people who are also experiencing the same thing so that they can discuss and support one another.
  5. Adopting a healthy lifestyle, such as eating nutritious foods, getting adequate rest, and regular exercise.
  6. Don’t avoid situations or places that make you anxious and afraid. Deal with the situations or places gradually, and over time you will realize that your fear and anxiety may decrease.

What is the right way to prevent agoraphobia?

There is no sure way to prevent agoraphobia and anxiety usually increases as the sufferer increasingly avoids the feared situation.

The sufferer can practice going to places that create fear and anxiety gradually in order to overcome the fear and anxiety that he feels.

If the sufferer finds it difficult, the sufferer can ask for help from family members or close people to go together or find doctors and mental health professionals who can help.

If you experience excessive anxiety that interferes with daily activities or experiences recurring panic attacks, seek consultation with your doctor and other mental health professionals.

Get help early so that the symptoms do not get worse, if not treated immediately, the disorder will be worse and more difficult to treat.

Consult your doctor and other mental health professionals if you have any of the symptoms listed above.

Which must be prepared before consulting a doctor

Make a list of your symptoms, information about recent life problems, any medications or substances you are taking, and questions to ask your doctor and other mental health professional, such as:

  • What is causing my symptoms?
  • What type of treatment is recommended?
  • What are the risks of side effects and contra indications for the recommended drugs?
  • Are there brochures, websites, or printed materials that I can get about my condition?

Doctors and other mental health professionals will usually ask the following questions:

  1. When did you first experience these symptoms?
  2. What symptoms bother you the most?
  3. Have you avoided any situation or place because you were afraid they would trigger your symptoms?
  4. Have you been diagnosed with any mental disorders? If so, what was the most effective treatment at that time?
  5. Have you ever thought about hurting yourself?
  6. Can anything improve and worsen your symptoms?
  7. Do you avoid places or situations that trigger your symptoms?
  8. When will your symptoms occur frequently?
  9. Have you been diagnosed with any medical conditions?
  10. Have you ever used alcohol or drugs?
  11. How have your symptoms affected your life and that of those closest to you?

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That’s a little explanation about agoraphobia and symptoms. Hopefully this article can be useful for all of us. Don’t forget to keep on doing a healthy lifestyle every day so that your body is healthy and is not susceptible to disease.


(Mayo Clinic | Medscape | NHS)

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