Agoraphobia involves a strong fear of being in places where escape may be difficult. Such places might include crowded locations, public transportation, or very open spaces. The fear can be intense and can motivate one to avoid leaving the home. Also, these individuals can often feel a need to have a companion with them when they venture out. When they feel unsafe, they can easily feel afraid and can quickly think about finding a way to leave.
Agoraphobia and Other Anxiety Disorders
Agoraphobia can easily co-occur with other anxiety disorders. Panic attacks can be a common reaction to being in uncomfortable situations or places. For some individuals, anticipation and fear of panic attacks can increase along with the symptoms of Agoraphobia. For some individuals, they may have less opportunity to develop the social connections they desire; the condition can share some symptoms in common with Social Anxiety Disorder. Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or excessive worrying about a variety of topics, can often co-occur with Agoraphobia.
What Can Be Done to Control Agoraphobia?
Symptoms of Agoraphobia can be intense and can significantly interfere with one’s well-being. Certain assumptions and beliefs (for example, the belief that the fear will persist indefinitely if the individual does not leave the situation) can be common. Therapists and medical providers can provide help to find ways to manage anxiety in uncomfortable situations. For some individuals, the risk for developing Agoraphobia can be higher when other medical conditions (for example, conditions affecting the gastrointestinal system) are present. Psychological testing for Agoraphobia can be helpful in identifying which symptoms of Agoraphobia are most problematic and analyzing the patterns which can make the problem persist. As the disorder can often co-occur with other conditions, it can be important to determine how additional conditions (including medical conditions) can increase the impact of Agoraphobia and whether other conditions can complicate treatment.