Mental health information – Agoraphobia symptoms is characterized by many different symptoms that can easily be mistaken for other phobias or anxiety disorders. These phobias and disorders, like social phobia, specific phobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, or separation anxiety disorder, must first be ruled out before diagnosing an individual with Agoraphobia.
Oftentimes, the symptoms of Agoraphobia only manifest themselves when the individual is faced with a panic-causing and anxiety-inducing situation.
So how would you know if an individual is suffering from Agoraphobia? The following are the signs and Agoraphobia symptoms.
Children who are afraid of being separated from their parents also have higher tendencies of developing Agoraphobia as adults. Almost half of the patients diagnosed with Agoraphobia revealed that they experienced separation anxiety when they were still children.
One trait of Agoraphobics is that they do not like being away from their Phobic Companion, a person that they heavily rely on and would only face difficult situations when they are with that person.
Panic Attacks More often that not, a person with Agoraphobia experiences panic attacks when faced with a situation wherein he or she cannot easily leave, cannot easily escape from, or where there is no immediate exit.
An Agoraphobic fears the anxiety that could be brought about by these situations such as going to school or work, attending a social function, being in a meeting, going to church, shopping for groceries, traveling alone, or even driving on a bridge.
Such anxiety-inducing places and events could lead to a panic attack in an Agoraphobic. He or she may experience heart palpitations, sweating, nausea, chest pains, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, headaches, tingling, trembling, dizziness, and shaking. Some also experience having a fear of fainting, dying, and losing control.
Avoidance Because of the anxiety and fear that they could bring about, an Agoraphobic would start to avoid these situations entirely.
It is not uncommon for an individual with Agoraphobia to completely change his or her daily routine and lifestyle just to avoid those conditions associated with anxiety.
For example, an Agoraphobic would be very willing to take a much farther route and drive a longer distance if it means avoiding a narrow bridge that has no immediate exits.
Housebound An Agoraphobic may become confined to the house from avoiding those anxiety-provoking situations so strongly. Roads, crowded areas, public places, open spaces, confined locations, and in fact any place outside the house could cause fear and anxiety in an Agoraphobic.
This would make him or her not want to leave the house at all and the Agoraphobic could eventually become housebound. Some housebound Agoraphobics lead fairly normal lives of studying or working from their homes.
Some feel comfortable enough to accept guests and visitors into their houses. Housebound Agoraphobics consider their house as a safe haven or a comfort zone where he or she is in control.
Anticipatory Anxiety When an Agoraphobic is expecting a difficult situation to happen, he or she could become very anxious.
This condition of becoming fearful before the event of a dreaded situation is called Anticipatory Anxiety. Some even go into a full-blown panic attack hours before the situation has happened.
Other Psychological Problems Agoraphobia is also characterized by other psychological problems. An Agoraphobic might display behaviors of over obsession.
He or she might have an excessive fear of being embarrassed and losing control.
Some Agoraphobics could also develop low self-esteem and low confidence because of their disorder. Many become frustrated, confused, and depressed.