Agoraphobia is a disorder that affects how you feel in public spaces. It’s often mistaken for claustrophobia, another anxiety-related condition that can cause people to feel trapped or afraid in crowded places. However, there are differences between agoraphobia and claustrophobia.
What is Agoraphobia?
Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder that causes fear of being in places or situations from which it may be difficult to escape, or in which help may not be available if something bad happens. Fear of certain situations can include the fear of being out in public, riding on a bus, riding an elevator, and even going shopping at the mall.
This condition has been linked with other mental health disorders such as depression and panic attacks.
How Does agoraphobia differ from claustrophobia?
Agoraphobia is often confused with claustrophobia. The two are similar because they both involve a fear of being in crowded areas, but there are some key differences:
- Agoraphobia is more strongly associated with panic attacks and the avoidance of social situations. Claustrophobia, on the other hand (and traditionally), refers to a fear of small spaces—not crowds—and may be more about avoiding tight places than being overwhelmed by large numbers of people at once.
- Causes for agoraphobia tend to be internalized; that means that most people with this disorder have no external source for their problems (like someone holding them down). In contrast, claustrophobia seems to occur more frequently due to social triggers such as crowded crowds or narrow pathways; thus it can sometimes stem from external sources such as claustrophobic clothing styles or escalators.
Many people with agoraphobia worry that they will lose control or go crazy in public
Agoraphobia is a fear of being in situations where escape might be difficult or embarrassing. People with agoraphobia often avoid public places and social situations, including crowded streets, subways and buses, theaters, and concerts.
Many people with agoraphobia worry that they will lose control or go crazy in public because their anxiety makes it hard for them to separate their own emotions from what’s happening around them. They may also think about shooting themselves or jumping out of windows if they feel trapped by panic attacks (an extreme form of anxiety).
Agoraphobics may also experience panic attacks after being trapped in an elevator or in a closed space such as a closet; these episodes can last for days at a time without relief through medication such as antidepressants (antianxiety drugs) or benzodiazepines (benzos).
Sometimes panic attacks become so severe that people are afraid to leave their homes
Panic attacks are a common problem for many people. Some people have panic attacks that cause them to feel afraid, while others have panic attacks that don’t cause them any fear at all. In some cases, a person may also experience fear after an attack and be afraid to leave their home or go somewhere else because of the memories associated with their panic disorder. The combination of both types of panic can result in agoraphobia.
What are the symptoms of Agoraphobia?
You may feel anxious when:
1. You have to leave home, especially if it’s at night
2. You have to be alone in a room like an elevator or a train station
3. You’re in public places such as shopping malls, parks, restaurants, and movie theaters
Causes and risk factors for agoraphobia
There are several risk factors for developing agoraphobia. These include:
- Genetics – Children of parents with an anxiety disorder are at increased risk for developing agoraphobia.
- Trauma – Experiencing a traumatic event, such as abuse or natural disasters, can contribute to its development. Additionally, people who have experienced trauma in their childhood may be more likely to develop other mental health issues like depression and anxiety.
- Anxiety disorders – People who have an anxiety disorder are also more likely to develop agoraphobia than those without this condition.
What are the early signs of agoraphobia?
The symptoms can be severe enough that sufferers may avoid social activities altogether, and even do so while they’re feeling well.
Agoraphobics often see themselves as helpless when faced with a panic attack, making them feel like they’re not able to control their feelings—which is why agoraphobics are often surprised at how quickly they start panicking in certain situations.
They may also experience physical symptoms such as chills or sweating when they get too anxious; these are signs that your body is preparing itself for fight or flight mode by releasing hormones into your bloodstream (like adrenaline).
How is agoraphobia diagnosed?
Agoraphobia is a mental health condition that can be diagnosed by a psychiatrist or psychologist, but it doesn’t involve any physical exams or tests. Instead of asking you questions about your symptoms, medical history, and family history, they will use a questionnaire to help diagnose the condition.
Because there isn’t any specific test for agoraphobia (and because many people with this disorder don’t realize they have it), most doctors start by ruling out other causes of anxiety before trying to identify what’s going on inside their patient’s minds. This can take time—but if you’re concerned about getting an accurate diagnosis from your doctor, try not to let yourself get discouraged!
We hope that after reading this article, you can better understand agoraphobia. While it may seem confusing or overwhelming at first, we assure you that if you seek help from a qualified mental health professional, they can help you overcome your fears and live a normal life.