Agoraphobia produces intense anxiety when you are in a place where escape is difficult or embarassing. Those people who have had panic attacks often worry about being in a place where help may not be available, if
they have another attack. This fear causes the person to withdraw into safer surroundings, and many agoraphobics will only frequent a few secure locations, such as their home, a specific route to work, or sometimes
the homes of friends or relatives. They typically avoid bridges, tunnels, elevators, highways without shoulders, limited access roads with infrequent exits, or being in crowded places. In the extreme, they will not
leave their home.
Agoraphobia almost always occurs with panic disorder, but can sometimes occur on its own. It is more appropriate to look at agoraphobia as the best explanation for a problem, rather than specific phobias, when
there are many phobias, and when the theme common to all of the fears is a difficult escape. The most difficult part of treatment for agoraphobia is maintaining regular treatment appointments. People suffering with
agoraphobia often have difficulty getting to the office of a psychologist, and frequently cancel appointments because of their fears. This must be addressed as part of treatment.
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