It originally meant the fear of crowded places from the Latin word Agora meaning market place. It often begins as a panic disorder but as you increasingly begin to avoid situations or places where panics might occur then it develops into full blown agoraphobia.
Commonly these would include being far from home, away from loved ones, crowded public places, enclosed or confined places or even being at home alone. This fear can become very specific as it progresses, in some cases resulting in someone staying in their room or never going out.
- Fear of being away from your safety zone, which could be home or someone close to you.
- Fear of being trapped somewhere and unable to escape.
- Fear of what other people think of you if they see you panic, so you would avoid public places especially if crowded.
- Continuous feelings of anxiety because you become preoccupied with thoughts of what may happen.
- Avoidance of all situations where a panic attack might occur such as confining, restricted spaces, crowded places or alone at home.
- As these fears and the anxiety persist, depression can develop.
The treatment is similar to panic disorder but will also probably need to help combat depression and low self esteem as well as more extensive exposure to avoided situations and places.
- Distraction – arithmetic, anchored memory
- Disconnection – the experimental lab
- Exposure or Flooding – recreating the symptoms to familiarize yourself with them.
- Dietary changes – alkaline diet
- Hypnotherapy – cognitive behaviour techniques
- Assertiveness and confidence building