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Agoraphobia

- Summary
- About agoraphobia
- Signs and symptoms
- Diagnosis methods
- Treatment and prevention
- Questions for your doctor

Reviewed By:
Steven A. King, M.D.
Tahir Tellioglu, M.D., APA, AAAP

Summary

Agoraphobia is Greek for “fear of the marketplace.” The disorder is characterized by anxiety over finding oneself in places or situations from which escape might be difficult or embarrassing should a panic attack or panic-like symptoms occur. Agoraphobia commonly accompanies panic disorders.

People with agoraphobia typically avoid any situations in which they might experience panic. As a result, many patients spend increasing amounts of time at home and in other sheltered situations, significantly hampering their ability to work, travel, perform daily tasks and maintain interpersonal relationships.

Agoraphobia tends to begin in a person’s 20s. Women are affected more often than men. The cause of this phobia remains unclear. However, genetics, biochemical factors and stress are believed to play a role in the development of agoraphobia.

Patients with agoraphobia have several treatment options. In the majority of cases, a combination of psychotherapy and anti-anxiety and antidepressant medications is the most effective treatment.

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Review Date: 08-01-2007
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