Phobias are irrational, involuntary, and inappropriate fears towards ordinary things and situations. Phobias are divided into three different categories: Specific Phobia, Social Phobia, and Agoraphobia. We will cover each of these different types of phobias in the next couple of newsletters.

The characterizing feature of Agoraphobia is an intense fear or anxiety about being in a place or situation from which escape may be difficult or in a place or situation in which a panic attack or panic-like symptoms may be likely. This anxiety alone leads the patient to continually avoid a variety of situations which include: being alone away from home; being alone at home; being in a crowd of people; traveling; heights; being in an elevator; being on a bridge; etc. Often times, the patient with Agoraphobia will avoid the situation or place all together; however, sometimes the stressor can be confronted with a companion. Due to this fear and avoidance, the patient with Agoraphobia often experiences a disruption in her daily life as well as her social and occupational functioning.

In regards to treatment for Agoraphobia, a combination of psychological therapy and medication is usually very effective.

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