It is an anxiety disorder in which people have fear of going in the public gatherings or enclosed spaces and the places in which they feel helpless, embarrassed or trapped. It usually comes with the concern of next attack after having first panic attack in public. It can be so debilitating that patients don’t leave their house.
It presents as follows;
- Afraid of leaving home alone.
- Fear of open spaces like malls etc.
- Fear of enclosed spaces like elevators etc.
- Afraid of using public transportations.
- In every situation feeling of anxiety is constant.
- Fear of anxiety and the rate of danger is out of proportion.
- Ignorance of anxiety could be up to 6months or longer.
During panic attacks person presents as:
- Increase heart rate.
- Difficulty in breathing
- Feeling of numbness.
- Excessive sweating, flushing and chills.
- Feeling loss of control and dying.
Genetical and health issues, high temperament, social and life experiences play role in the development of agoraphobia.
- Limitation in the life activities.
- Anxiety and depression.
- Personality and bipolar disorders.
- Alcohol or other drug abuse.
This condition is diagnosed on the basis of:
- Clinical presentation.
- Detailed history.
- DSM-5 [ diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders Fifth edition] criteria.
- Psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy.
- Medications are prescribed which include antidepressants (SSRI: Prozac, Zoloft etc.) and anti-anxiety medications.
- Some alternative medications include herbal supplements like kava.
Don’t try to avoid the situation. Get into physical workout and yoga. Try aerobic exercise and muscle relaxation therapies.