People with agoraphobia tend to have an overactive fight-or-flight response, which results in having a fear reaction when exposed to certain environments, people or situations. One theory is panic disorder is closely associated with your body's natural "fight or flight" reflex – its way of protecting you from stressful and dangerous situations. Anxiety is felt as a result of being stressed. You may get it if you have a lot of panic attacks. People with agoraphobia feel scared of places that might make them feel trapped (like being unable to leave a classroom), on the spot or embarrassed (in conversation with others), or out of … Megalophobia, or the fear of large objects can mean an intense fear of things like skyscrapers, large animals, and expansive spaces. You may want to try: During treatment, it’s best to avoid taking dietary supplements and herbs. This perception causes a great deal of anxiety and emotional distress, causing them to shut themselves away from the world in an effort to keep safe. This can cause them to feel overwhelmed and disorientated in crowded places, triggering a panic attack. CBT can help you understand the distorted feelings and views associated with agoraphobia. Close menu. Phobias are more common than you might think and can be successfully treated with counseling and…, There are easy and proven ways to alleviate pain and fear of shots. Whether you have a mild fear of the dentist or a phobia that prevents you from going, we've outlined strategies and treatments to help. Agoraphobia is a fear of leaving your home. Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, involves meeting with a therapist or other mental health professional on a regular basis. Depending on the severity of your condition, treatment may consist of therapy, medications, and lifestyle remedies. Psychotherapy is often combined with medications for optimum effectiveness. In people with panic disorder, it's thought the fight or flight reflex may be triggered wrongly, resulting in a panic attack. These include having: Agoraphobia is also more common in women than in men. Agoraphobia is a phobia, which means that is linked to anxiety. Agoraphobia can also be the result of social anxiety. For example, if a person is abused as a child, he or she learns that people are dangerous. Enclosed spaces, such as movie theaters, elevators or small stores 4. However, there are several factors that are known to increase your risk of developing agoraphobia. These are outlined below. You must feel intense fear or anxiety in two of more of the following situations to be diagnosed with agoraphobia: There are additional criteria for a diagnosis of panic disorder with agoraphobia. This type of agoraphobia can be triggered by a number of different irrational fears (phobias), such as the fear of: Page last reviewed: 18 December 2018 They think it runs in families. If you suspect you have agoraphobia, it’s important to receive treatment as soon as possible. This would contribute to a fear of being in public places or a fear of being humiliated by or around others. Agoraphobia is a progressive disorder, meaning that it will get progressively worse with time if it is not properly addressed with a mental health professional. Recently, researchers and mental health professionals have seen that agoraphobia causes symptoms and issues that made it appropriate for agoraphobia to be its own disorder. However, early treatment for anxiety or panic disorders may help. You must have recurrent panic attacks, and at least one panic attack must have been followed by: You won’t be diagnosed with agoraphobia if your symptoms are caused by another illness. Being in these situations may result in a panic attack. This causes the person to avoid that particular situation or environment. In fact, up until the most recent diagnostic and statistical manual for mental health disorders, agoraphobia was considered to be directly linked to panic disorder and was not a standalone diagnosis. The exact cause of agoraphobia isn’t known. Psychological factors that increase your risk of developing agoraphobia include: Occasionally, a person can develop symptoms of agoraphobia even though they don't have a history of panic disorder or panic attacks. However, most experts think a combination of biological and psychological factors may be involved. There are a number of theories about what can cause agoraphobia, including a response to repeated exposure to anxiety-provoking events or a reaction to internal emotional conflicts. It is a type of anxiety disorder. They may also perform blood tests to help rule out physical causes for your symptoms. In severe ca… However, panic attacks remain a symptom for agoraphobia. Leaving home alone 2. People with agoraphobia often realize their fear is irrational, but they’re unable to do anything about it. Treatment tends to be easier and faster when it’s started earlier, so if you suspect you have agoraphobia, don’t hesitate to seek help. In this type of therapy, you’re gently and slowly exposed to the situations or places you fear. Open spaces, such as parking lots, bridges or malls 5. Tomophobia: When the Fear of Surgery and Other Medical Procedures Becomes a Phobia, How to Cope with Megalophobia, or a Fear of Large Objects, How to Overcome Erythrophobia, or the Fear of Blushing, Understanding Automatonophobia: Fear of Human-Like Figures, Understanding Arachibutyrophobia: Fear of Peanut Butter Sticking to the Roof of Your Mouth, Nephophobia: Understanding the Fear of Clouds, Ornithophobia: What You Need to Know About Fear of Birds, afraid of leaving their home for extended periods of time, afraid of being alone in the social situation, afraid of losing control in a public place, afraid of being in places where it would be difficult to escape, such as a car or elevator, other phobias, such as claustrophobia and social phobia, another type of anxiety disorder, such as, using public transportation, such as a train or bus, being in open spaces, such as a store or parking lot, being in enclosed spaces, such as an elevator or car, a fear of the consequences of panic attacks, such as having a heart attack or losing control, a change in your behavior as a result of the panic attacks, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, such as paroxetine (Paxil) or fluoxetine (Prozac), selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, such as venlafaxine (Effexor) or duloxetine (Cymbalta), tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline (Elavil) or nortriptyline (Pamelor), anti-anxiety medications, such as alprazolam (Xanax) or clonazepam (Klonopin), exercising regularly to increase the production of brain chemicals that make you feel happier and more relaxed, eating a healthy diet that consists of whole grains, vegetables, and lean protein so you feel better overall, practicing daily meditation or deep breathing exercises to reduce anxiety and fight the onset of panic attacks. They may also experience these symptoms before they even enter the situation they dread. What is the Difference Between Shyness and Social Anxiety. These include: Lifestyle changes won’t necessarily treat agoraphobia, but they may help reduce everyday anxiety. For many, the traumatic event or abuse experienced is so intense that he or she associates places and situations with danger. This may make your fear diminish over time. It isn’t always possible to prevent agoraphobia. When the condition is more advanced, agoraphobia can be very disabling. Using public transportation, such as a bus, plane or trainThese situations cause anxiety because you fear you won't be able to escape or find help if you start to feel panicked or have other disabling or embarrassing symptoms.In addition: 1.