Agoraphobia is the phobia or fear of being in open spaces or crowds in the extreme fear of having a panic attack. It can be a very difficult mental disorder that may limit one’s life into his safe faculties. The physical, emotional, and psychological symptoms of agoraphobia should be addressed immediately in order to have appropriate treatment and be able to overcome the syndrome.
The essential feature of Agoraphobia is having a morbid fear of having a panic attack or panic-like symptoms in a situation from which it is perceived to be difficult or embarrassing to escape. The sufferers of agoraphobia may believe that these situations may pose harm or embarrassment or immediate help may not be available. These situations may include, but are not limited to, wide spaces such as malls or markets, crowds, public transportation, movie houses, groceries, travelling, or uncontrolled social conditions. This can be also caused by or coincide with social anxiety problems. People who have agoraphobia typically fear being outside of their comfort zones such as their homes and may avoid public and or unfamiliar places, especially large, open spaces such as airports and being in a crowd. He may choose not to go out to parties, social events, etc. And may just choose to stay home. Anxiety is triggered with unfamiliar environments or when a person perceives that they have little control.
Not all agoraphobias are social in nature. Agoraphobia is often, but not always, characterized by extreme fear of social embarrassment, as if they are going to die when in front of public. This is also sometimes called “Social Agoraphobia,” which may be a type of social anxiety disorder . The sufferer is terrified of a particular place or situation because they may have experienced a panic attack at the same location or situation before. They may sometimes take great lengths and even tell lies in order to avoid places where they have experienced the onset of a panic attack. They may also avoid going to unusual places and may hate to try discovering new places because of the fear or another panic attack, which in turn, cause another attack. Most of the time, their reasons for avoidance are irrational and may irritate other people. They may only try to go to a place consciously if they have assurance to be with a person whom they can trust. This is not just typical shyness but a lot more extreme. They just cannot go out alone. People who they may trust are those who they assume to have abilities of taking care of difficult situations in case they have an attack. Sufferers of agoraphobia may also have obsessive compulsive disorder, temporary separation anxiety disorder, or post traumatic stress disorder.
The panic attack associated with agoraphobia is just as typical as an adrenaline rush and disorganization of thoughts when fearing of an impending doom. Cold sweating, increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, increased respiration, dilated pupils,—as fight or flight responses. A panic attack may occur in as little as 10 to 15 minutes.
Common Agoraphobic Symptoms
- Fear of being alone in social gatherings when the psychologically trusted someone is not around
- Migraines, palpitations, feelings of dizziness, fainting, lightheadedness, nausea in locations and situations you perceive you cannot call out for help
- Avoiding public transportations, parties, meetings, crowds, markets because of fear that you might get embarrassed and the public may scrutinize you
- Fear of going to unusual places, especially by yourself
- Being a housebound completely because it is your comfort zone
- Having an avoidant personality or behaviour
- Fear of losing control especially in a crowd
- Fear of having a panic attack
- Being dependent on online or telephone services to purchase what you need because of fear of going out of your house
- Having these due to stress: chest pain, rapid heartbeat, hyperventilating, feeling feverish or having cold sweat, hyperacidic stomach, diarrhea, trembling, dizziness, nausea, palpitations, unexplained weakness, and unexplained inability to move body parts.
- Feelings of stupidity for having a panic attack
- Lying in order to avoid a place or situation
- Feelings of anxiety in anticipation of leaving of a trusted person or leaving from home
- Having fights with the psychologically trusted person cannot be always there at situations needed.
- Having to worry extremely about having an attack on an unusual place or situation
- Feelings of losing sanity in uncomfortable places or situations
- Fears that people may be staring or examining you in public
- Having low self-esteem
- Feelings of not being able to survive or function effectively without the help of family, trusted friends or trusted colleagues