Agoraphobia or agoraphobia is fear or excessive anxiety in the place or situation that makes sufferers feel panicked, shy, helpless, or trapped. Generally, agoraphobia arises when sufferers have experienced one or more or more attacks.

agoraphobia meaning

The situation or place that can cause phobias to each person varies. Some are afraid of a condition or situation, such as crowds, some feel afraid of more specific things, such as blood or certain animals.

People with agoraphobia will feel scared and excessive in some places and conditions, such as public places, closed rooms, crowds, and conditions that make it difficult to get help. Usually, people with agoraphobia need relatives or friends to accompany them to a public place.

Causes of Agoraphobia

Agoraphobia generally arises when someone has experienced more than one panic attack on a particular place or condition. This causes people with agoraphobia to be afraid and avoid the place or condition.

Not yet known the exact cause of the emergence of agoraphobia. This condition can be experienced by someone since he is small but more common in adolescent or young women (less than 35 years).

Risk factors for agoraphobia

Several factors can increase the risk of someone affected by agoraphobia, namely:

  • The presence of fear will be a victim of criminal acts, experiencing accidents, or contracting certain diseases
  • Trauma for events ever experienced, such as losing family members or experiencing torture
  • Ever experienced other mental disorders, such as depression, bulimia, or anorexia nervosa
  • Suffering from interference in the brain that controls fear
  • Have other types of phobias
  • Has an easy and nervous and nervous properties
  • Have family members who suffer from agoraphobia
  • Has a relationship that is not happy with a partner, like having a couple who is too curbing.

Symptoms of agoraphobia

The main symptoms of agoraphobia are fear and anxiety that arise every patient thinks, experience, or is in a place of certain conditions, such as:

  • Located in an open room, such as parking, garden, or a large mall
  • Being in a closed room, like a cinema, meeting room, or elevator
  • Outdoors alone
  • Use public transportation, such as buses or trains
  • Queue or be in the middle of a crowd

These symptoms will disappear when the patient stops thinking or is out of the place and this condition.

The fear and anxiety suffered by agoraphobia sufferers will generally cause physical, cognitive symptoms (mindset), and behavior. The following is an explanation of these three symptoms:

Physical symptoms

Anxiety and fear experienced by agoraphobic sufferers can bring up a variety of physical symptoms similar to panic attacks, such as:

  • Heart feels pounding
  • Breath becomes fast (hyperventilation)
  • Chest pain
  • The body feels hot and sweating
  • Tinnitus.
  • Trembling, numb, or tingling
  • Abdominal pain or diarrhea
  • Difficulty swallowing or choking
  • Feel unhealthy or feel like fainting

Cognitive symptoms

In addition to physical symptoms, agoraphobic sufferers can also experience cognitive symptoms. Agoraphobia sufferers generally will feel embarrassed, look stupid, and lose a clear mind while in the conditions or places mentioned earlier.

Symptoms of behavior

The fear and anxiety experienced by people with agoraphobia can also cause behavioral changes, such as:

  • Avoiding a vulnerable situation raises panic attacks, such as being in public transportation, queues, or crowded places
  • Be afraid to leave the house
  • Need friends to go outside the house

When to go to the doctor

You are recommended to go to a psychologist or psychiatrist if you experience the symptoms above. Especially when the symptoms experienced often arise and have disrupted activity. Immediately go to the doctor if a desire appears to hurt or commit suicide.

Treatment of agoraphobia

Agoraphobia treatment aims to relieve fear and panic and teach patients how to control themselves well when thinking or dealing with feared situations. Below are some treatment methods performed:


Counseling with psychologists and psychiatrists can help patients deal with fears experienced. Some types of psychotherapy that can be done to handle agoraphobia are:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy or cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), to make patients more confident, brave, and think more positively to the situation or feared place
  • Exposure therapy (desensitization), to reduce the fear experienced and consider something feared is normal
  • Relaxation therapy stretches the muscles while reducing the level of tension experienced when dealing with the feared situation


Drugs are used to handle complaints and symptoms that arise when patients experience agoraphobia. Medicines used include:

  • The binding of serotonin (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), or pregabalin, to relieve anxiety disorders and improve mood
  • Benzodiazepine, to deal with severe acute anxiety disorders

Independent aid program

This program aims to help patients to control their response to things that make them panic or stressed. This program consists of:

  • Lifestyle changes, such as enough sleep, consuming nutritious foods, and reducing food consumption and caffeinated or alcoholic beverages
  • Relaxation is like doing breathing techniques to help patients relax when dealing with the triggers of agoraphobia
  • Divert your mind from the feared thing or situation, for example by looking at the movement of the clock or imagining positive things, until the panic disappears
  • Shut-in place and try not to run into a safe place when experiencing a panic attack, to change the patient's mindset to the feared place or condition
  • Join in the group of people with agoraphobia, to share experiences and how to deal with anxiety due to agoraphobia

Complications of Agoraphobia

The severe agoraphobia that is not handled can make sufferers always be afraid, anxious, and panic, if you think, experience, or be in the feared situation and situation. Patients become unable to leave the house, go to school, or office, and cannot do daily activities normally.

This condition can also make sufferers have a dependence on others. In addition, agoraphobia can make sufferers more vulnerable to experiencing:

Prevention of agoraphobia

Until now, no definite way has not been found to prevent agoraphobia. However, there are several ways you can do to reduce the intensity of anxiety and fear that arise, namely:

  • Don't avoid going somewhere or doing certain things that are safe and normal.
  • Talk about and ask for family help or close friends to help you overcome the taste
  • Consult with psychologists or psychiatrists, so that the agoraphobia that you experience does not get worse and is more difficult to treat.

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