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What is Agoraphobia?

Agoraphobia is a type of fear. This fear manifests through a person being unable to stay in the open spaces due to the fact that this individual may get embarrassed if he/she experiences a panic attack. Thus, people with agoraphobia avoid crowded spaces, large amounts of people in large, open areas etc. However, this condition is not to be considered the opposite of claustrophobia, since the size of the room does not matter here. The main cause of fear regarding agoraphobia is that which creates a possibility of other people witnessing one's panic attack. Therefore, these people do not feel safe while with strangers and crowds of other people and prefer seclusion inside their own homes which offer them the desired security.

A lot of people suffer from this problem. Interestingly, it does not have to manifest before the year of 20, which is considered to be the most common age for the onset of this phobia.

Manifestations of Agoraphobia

Since people suffering from this phobia know what can trigger their panic attacks, anxiety is quite connected to agoraphobia. In fact, anxiety triggers a chain reaction, causing panic attacks in certain situations. Since in agoraphobia, the fear is triggered by crowded spaces, the circle of agoraphobia closes here.

Thus, when a person suffering from agoraphobia is exposed to situations he/she does not like, he/she starts reacting in an anxious way. The heartbeat gets increased, breathing becomes difficult, hot flushes and sweating engage and one's stomach gets irritated and upset. Moreover, diarrhea can be a sign of this panic attack, including nausea, swallowing difficulties, dizziness, ringing in ears and fainting.

The person with agoraphobia fears that he/she may have a panic attack and be a subject of public embarrassment and ridicule. Apart from that, a person with this phobia fears that, during a panic attack, he/she could die or become mentally unstable. These feelings can trigger lack of self-confidence and depression, causing one to become sad and feel helpless and lonely.

So, people with agoraphobia avoid places where other people may see them. They usually are capable of leaving their home only when they are accompanied by a friend or a loved one. Sometimes, they need a drink or some other motivation so that they could cope with the source of their anxiety.

All in all, agoraphobia is a product of continuous panic attacks happening at the same place. Sometimes, certain medications may lead to this phobia. Recent discoveries suggest that agoraphobia may have something to do with the lack of orientation due to problems with coordination between the inner ear and the eyes. Finally, alcohol abuse, traumatic experiences, mental illnesses and stress may all be behind this phobia.  

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