Facts about Agoraphobia
Agoraphobia, or fear of crowded places, is a phenomenon manifesting through people feeling great discomfort, or even fear when exposed to places where there is a large number of other people around. People suffering from agoraphobia fear that they might get hurt in such situations and tend to feel very uncomfortable every time they are standing in line, or visiting places like train stations, public events etc. Exposure to crowds triggers a panic attack in these people, and, thus, in order to protect themselves from these, agoraphobic people avoid such places altogether. What is more, in extreme cases, people with this phobia may even be reluctant to leave their house, unless a familiar person they can trust is accompanying them. All in all, many people suffer from agoraphobia occasionally, and, in order to understand this phenomenon, we must know how it manifests, what causes it and how one can deal with it.
Reasons behind Agoraphobia
In most cases, agoraphobia is triggered by having a panic attack in a public place. People who experienced this, connect the attacks with the situations, and, thereby, believe that places with a lot of people around trigger their panic attacks. However, this is not necessarily the case since agoraphobia may strike out of nowhere, without any panic attacks in the first place. In fact, agoraphobia is more common than panic attacks are.
Manifestations and Characteristics of Agoraphobia
This condition affects people between 18 and 35 years of age. It manifests through fear, terror, panic, horror and similar emotions and sensations, making one incapable of functioning correctly under certain situations. Interestingly, many agoraphobic individuals are aware of their phobia and its groundless conduct. Yet, once the panic attack strikes, they cannot force themselves out of it. Rather, they feel their heart beat is going wild; they experience breathing difficulties and have a great desire to leave the place in question as soon as possible.
For all the reasons mentioned above, and many others, if you are unable to deal with agoraphobia, and the condition itself fails to stop occurring, it is best to seek medical assistance.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Upon visiting a doctor, he/she will ask you questions or give you some tests to solve. This will help him differentiate your condition from any others, similar to agoraphobia, like, for example, social anxiety etc. Also, the doctor will test you to make sure that your panic attacks are not caused by certain medications you might be taking. Once agoraphobia is proven, treatment is suggested.
The treatment involves behavioral therapies which can either help people deal with agoraphobia by relaxing and breathing correctly, or can make them more used to crowded spaces by exposing them to these as often as possible. Specific medications may also help.