Agoraphobia: People with Agoraphobia experience intense fear or avoidance of places and situations where they worry that escape might be difficult and where obtaining help might be impossible should they start to have panic-like symptoms or other feelings of helplessness or embarrassment.
People with Agoraphobia have fear and anxiety that almost always results from exposure to the situation. They may express fear that is out of proportion to the actual danger of the situation, they actively avoid the situation, often leave the homes in companion with another person or even their pet, and if they must endure the situation alone, they feel extremely distressed by it. The individuals express significant distress in social networks, their employment, or other important areas of functioning due to persistent fear and avoidance of the situation and these symptoms persists through six months or longer.
Situations that may provoke fear in one who has Agoraphobia include:
- Leaving the home alone
- Standing in crowds or waiting in line
- Being in an enclosed space, such as movie theaters, elevators, cinemas, or small stores
- Being in open spaces, such as parking lots, bridges, or malls
- Using public transportation, such as a bus, plane, ship, cars, train
Signs and Symptoms that People with Agoraphobia might report include but are not limited to:
- Heart palpitations, a pounding heartbeat, or an accelerated heartrate
- Sweating, Dizziness
- Trembling or shaking, Chills
- Sensations of shortness of breath, smothering, or choking, chest pain
- Feelings of impending doom or death
- Fear of loss of control
- Dizziness, lightheadedness, or faintness
- Numbness or tingling sensation
- Feeling of unreality or detachment
Risk factors of Panic Attacks may include but not limited to:
- Proneness to experiencing negative emotions and anxiety sensitivity.
- Childhood traumatic experiences and histories such as separation from parents, death of parents, etc.
- Negative stressful events such as being attacked or mugged in the public.
- Strong genetic factors are also implicated in agoraphobia.