A disorder that causes panic attacks triggered by being in places or situations from which escape might be difficult or embarrassing, or in which help isn’t readily available.
Being outside the home, large crowds and long lines can all invoke fear for the agoraphobic.
Signs and Symptoms
Individuals struggling with agoraphobia avoid situations that may cause anxiety or lead to panic attacks. They often require the presence of a companion. Agoraphobia typically begins in adolescence or early adulthood. Women, Native Americans, middle-aged individuals, low-income populations and individuals who are widowed, separated or divorced are at increased risk of developing agoraphobia.
You may need professional help for agoraphobia if:
- Symptoms are severe enough to impact daily functions.
- Symptoms interfere with your personal, social or professional life
- You have chest pain, shortness of breath, headaches, palpitations, dizziness, fainting spells or unexplained weakness
- You feel depressed, suicidal or homicidal
- Symptoms have persisted for more than a few days and/or appear to be getting worse quickly
When the above signs and symptoms are severe and come on suddenly, they may indicate serious medical illness that needs immediate evaluation and treatment in a hospital’s emergency department.
If you or someone you love is experiencing symptoms of agoraphobia and needs help, please request an appointment with an iTherapy counselor to discuss your concerns.