Mental Help Net
  •  
Anxiety Disorders
Resources
Basic Information
What is Anxiety?The Biopsychosocial Model of AnxietyDevelopment & Maintenance of Anxiety DisordersClassification & Diagnosis of Anxiety DisordersAnxiety Disorder Theories and TherapiesTreatment of Anxiety DisordersAnxiety Disorder References & Additonal Resources
More InformationLatest NewsQuestions and AnswersBlog EntriesVideosLinksBook ReviewsSelf-Help Groups
Therapist Search
Find a Therapist:
 (USA/CAN only)

Use our Advanced Search to locate a therapist outside of North America.

Related Topics

Depression: Depression & Related Conditions
Obsessive-Compulsive Spectrum Disorders
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Emotional Resilience
View the Depression Primer - an illustrated book about Depression

Agoraphobia

Matthew D. Jacofsky, Psy.D., Melanie T. Santos, Psy.D., Sony Khemlani-Patel, Ph.D. & Fugen Neziroglu, Ph.D. of the Bio Behavioral Institute, edited by C.E. Zupanick, Psy.D. and Mark Dombeck, Ph.D. Updated: Jun 4th 2019

Agoraphobia is characterized by an intense fear or anxiety that occurs when someone is faced with a situation that is difficult or embarrassing to leave, or where help would be unavailable if they were to experience panic-like symptoms (e.g., becoming dizzy or disoriented). To meet the diagnostic criteria these reactions must occur in at least two of the following five situations:

upset teen by window1. Using public transportation (cars, buses, trains, ships, airplanes).
2. Being in open spaces (parking lot, marketplaces, bridges).
3. Being in enclosed places (movie theatre, shops).
4. Standing in line or being in a crowd.
5. Being outside of the home alone.

The fearful or anxious response almost always occurs when exposed to these situations. People with Agoraphobia will strive to avoid these types of situations at all costs. This avoidance interferes with their general functioning. For instance, someone who fears elevators may refuse to accept any job where their office is located beyond the fifth floor. People with Agoraphobia often learn to cope with these anxiety-provoking situations by being accompanied by another person, often referred to as a "safety person." While a safety person may help to limit the magnitude of dysfunction, it also serves to maintain the disorder. 

Many people with Agoraphobia will experience cued (expected) panic attacks when exposed to these situations or anticipate the possibility of exposure. However, a person with agoraphobia may also experience uncued (unexpected) panic attacks. In this case, a person may also meet the criteria for Panic Disorder and they would receive both diagnoses.

To meet diagnostic criteria, the symptoms must be persistent, usually lasting at least 6 months or more. Treatment for Agoraphobia is discussed in another section.

 

Matthew D. Jacofsky, Psy.D., Melanie T. Santos, Psy.D., Sony Khemlani-Patel, Ph.D. & Fugen Neziroglu, Ph.D. of the Bio Behavioral Institute

Authors Statement: Established in 1979, the Bio Behavioral Institute is a psychological and psychiatric clinic dedicated to the treatment and research of anxiety and mood disorders. Based in Long Island, NY, USA, the institute serves both a local and international clientele. Our staff have over 40 years of experience treating anxiety and mood disorders and have been at the forefront of scientifically supported treatments for anxiety disorders for many years. We offer a variety of programs provided by a multidisciplinary team of professionals. For more information, please visit us online at www.biobehavioralinstitute.com or view Bio Behavioral Institute and author biographical information on this website.

    Reader Comments
    Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

    Follow us on Twitter!

    Find us on Facebook!



    This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify.This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:
    verify here.

    Powered by CenterSite.Net