What is Agoraphobia? What are the symptoms? Do I have it?

Patient

Q: What is Agoraphobia? What are the symptoms? Do I have it? Does ADHD have anything to do with it?

Symptoms:  Fear of being alone in a large open environment
Doctor

A:   Hello
Thanks for using “Ask the doctor” for posting your query.
I have gone through your question in detail and I can understand what you are going through.
Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder in which there is a fear of places where you feel trapped and helpless and finally end up having a panic attack. The person may avoid going to a market or travelling by train in the fear of having a panic attack.
The Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental health disorders puts symptoms of agoraphobia as
1) Marked and out of proportion fear of the presence or anticipation of a specific situation
2) Exposure to the phobic stimulus provokes an immediate anxiety response, which may take the form of a situational bound or situationally predisposed panic attack.
3) The person recognizes that the fear is out of proportion.
4) The phobic situation(s) is avoided or else is endured with intense anxiety or distress.
5) The avoidance, anxious anticipation or distress in the feared situation(s) interferes significantly with the person's normal routine, occupational (or academic) functioning, or social activities or relationships, or there is marked distress about having the phobia.
These symptoms should persist for 6 months at least to diagnose it as agoraphobia. If your symptoms match the above mentioned symptoms, you may have an agoraphobia which will require confirmation from a physician.
People with ADHD have a higher chance of developing agoraphobia. It’s difficult to identify the reason behind this coincidence, but it is noticed so. Either way both the illnesses have to be treated independently.
The treatment of agoraphobia is by medicines as well as by cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). CBT is a specialized psychotherapy dealing with identifying faulty cognitions (thoughts) and correcting them there by causing improvement in mood and feelings. It takes 5-7 sessions with a psychologist.
Hope this helps. In case if you have any questions future, please use the “Ask The Doctor” services to help you with your queries.
Kind regards
Wish you a good health

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