Agoraphobia it is a disorder which has not always been well understood. It is an anxiety disorder that affects between 5 and 7% of people worldwide.
It is often heard as the fear of staying in open spaces or in built-up areas, but it defines to a small extent what this mess really is.
Below, we’ll find out exactly what agoraphobia is, how it manifests, and what symptoms it causes in those affected.
What is agoraphobia really?
Agoraphobia is a class of phobia that generates anxiety and panic. Affected people they experience crippling fear and anxiety when in public places that are difficult to escape, Or where it is difficult to find help. Usually, this anxiety disorder is related to public places (hence the term agora, which means square in Latin), but it does not necessarily occur in these open places, but can also occur in private settings, at home or even by being alone.
Although it can appear in any age group, agoraphobia usually occurs in late adolescence or young adulthood, before the age of 34. It is more common in women than in men, as are most anxiety-related disorders.
Symptoms of agoraphobia that should alert you
Fear and panic are among the most common symptoms of agoraphobia. If you know someone who exhibits these types of symptoms in the situations described below, you may have this anxiety disorder:
- Leaving the house alone, much more common in women.
- Fear and panic in the crowd.
- Closed spaces such as elevators, museums, bars or restaurants.
- Open spaces such as bridges, stations, squares or airports.
- Social situations such as parties, dances, birthdays or meetings.
The vast majority of people with agoraphobia only experience symptoms associated with intense fear or panic in the aforementioned situations. however, there are certain situations that unite both physical and psychological symptoms, Among which we can find:
In most cases where some of the symptoms of agoraphobia occur, there will be no other serious symptoms, just fear of performing this action. But sometimes there are a number of symptoms, both physical and psychological, Where we can find the following:
- Chest pressure
- accelerated breathing
- excessive sweating
- Dizziness and vertigo
- Feeling out of control
- Insecurity and low self-esteem
- Dependence on others
- Feeling of loneliness and unreality
- Fear of death
- Fear of losing control
- Tachycardia, palpitations
People who suffer from this anxiety disorder feel overwhelmed when going through any of these situations, and have the unpleasant feeling that they cannot control this irrational and disproportionate fear and anxiety, compared to the low level of actual danger posed. by these situations. For this reason, in moderate and severe cases, it is necessary to consult a specialist in psychology and anxiety so that he can effectively diagnose and treat the root of the problem.
This disorder is also linked to suffering from panic disorder. This type of disorder is defined as an experience of irrational terrorist attacks and the onset of a series of very intense and unpleasant physical symptoms.
Causes of agoraphobia
As with most psychological disorders, it is not known for sure why agoraphobia occurs. The causes can be very varied and will depend on a multitude of factors in each individual. these causes they may be characterized by high addiction, low self-esteem or low confidence, anxiety, or compulsive seeking approval.
Through different variables of the individual and his environment, the subject will or will not develop agoraphobia. Sometimes agoraphobia can occur after experiencing a traumatic situation.
How to overcome agoraphobia?
While this is a disorder that tends to get worse if we don’t do anything, the truth is, if we notice that we have these symptoms, we can fix it by going to a specialist. Psychotherapy will provide you with tools and knowledge that will help you gradually get rid of bad feelings.
One of the most effective strategies if we are suffering from agoraphobia is not to avoid or avoid situations in which we feel fear. The more we face these situations, the more we will “train” our mind and realize that we are not in real danger. If that’s too difficult, put yourself in expert hands and, with the help of a family member or friend, go see a psychologist who can work with you.
If you end up suffering from unpleasant panic attacks, you should seek treatment as soon as possible.. The sooner you get professional help, the sooner you can prevent your symptoms from getting worse. Anxiety, like many other mental disorders, can be more difficult to manage if we allow time to pass and allow the problem to become chronic.