Agoraphobia: what is it and what are the symptoms

Agoraphobia is a form of anxiety related to the feeling of being in places or situations from which it would be difficult to leave

Panic attack disorder, and that is the recurrence of multiple attacks related to anticipatory worry that more attacks will occur, can occur with or without agoraphobia.

Panic attacks as per DSM-IV-R are part of anxiety disorders and are defined as follows: a definite period of intense fear or discomfort during which 4 or more of the following symptoms developed suddenly and peaked within 10 minutes:

  • palpitations, heart palpitation or tachycardia
  • sweating
  • fine or large tremors
  • dyspnea or choking sensation
  • sensation of asphyxiation
  • chest pain or discomfort
  • nausea or abdominal discomfort
  • feelings of lurching, unsteadiness, lightheadedness or fainting
  • derealization (feeling of unreality) or depersonalization (being detached from oneself)
  • fear of losing control or going crazy
  • fear of dying
  • paresthesias (feelings of numbness or tingling)
  • chills or hot flashes.

Agoraphobia, the disorder can over time, if left untreated, become disabling

The person caught up in anticipatory anxiety and the desire to avoid the onset of further attacks, avoids situations.

Going so far in the most severe cases as to stop taking the car, means of transportation, to stop leaving the house.

Therefore, agoraphobia should not be underestimated.

In fact, if one does not undergo treatment, it can become chronic and follow an up-and-down pattern, that is, exacerbate periodically.

Of the rest, it is good to know that excellent results and even complete recovery can be achieved if given proper treatment.

Signs and symptoms of agoraphobia

The symptoms of panic attacks, of which agoraphobia can be a manifestation, are similar to and therefore can be mistaken for other conditions, such as angina pectoris.

Indeed, emergency rooms often receive requests for help in which the two conditions are interchanged.

After all, this symptom is also associated with the hectic life we lead.

However, it is necessary to undergo all medical checks to rule out medical incidence factors and be able to make a differential diagnosis of panic attacks.

So first it will be necessary to go to the general practitioner who will have to subject the person to all relevant tests. For example thyroid tests, electrocardiogram, etc.

Treatment of agoraphobia

In cases of agoraphobia, pharmacological or psychopharmacological therapy is very often used, which may be helpful or essential in calming the symptoms.

Anxiety, however, is generally a way that our body/brain has of talking to us.

It is a message that needs to be decoded and if not decoded continues to act.

When we do not express feelings, reframe memories, or define situations, all this unheard nor channeled energy can develop anxiety.

To treat it therefore it is necessary, on the one hand to treat its symptoms, with medication or behavioral therapy, and on the other hand to understand its hidden messages, to bring out an “unspoken.”

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