- Changes in brain chemistry or activity
- Having a nervous system that reacts excessively, even to normal stimuli
- Increased awareness of physical changes, such as increased heart rate
- Distorted thinking, which may start a cycle of fear
|Changes or genetic problems in the nervous system (brain and nerves) may contribute to agoraphobia.|
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- History of panic attacks or panic disorder
- A tendency to be nervous or anxious
- Stressful situations
- Family members with panic disorder or phobias
- History of exposure to traumatic events
- Other psychiatric disorders
- Fear of being in a crowd, shopping, standing in line, or similar activities
- Fear of riding in a car, bus, or train
- Creation of a safe zone
- Feelings of anxiety when outside the safe zone
- Fear of being alone outside of the home
- Avoidance of situations that might cause a panic attack
- Restriction of activities outside the home
- Feeling of being safer with a trusted friend or family member
- Intense fear
- Rapid heartbeat
- Pounding or racing feeling in the chest
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Hot flashes or chills
- Numbness or tingling
- Feeling of loss of control or "going crazy"
- Fear of having a heart attack or dying
- Use of alcohol and drugs
- Mental health history
- Family's mental health history
- Reducing the number and severity of panic attacks
- Learning to manage panic attacks that do occur
- Identify and change anxious thoughts
- Use relaxation techniques to decrease feelings of anxiety
- Control breathing by taking slower, deeper breaths
- Cope with physical changes associated with anxiety
- Confront feared situations
- Benzodiazepines—may cause dependence
- Other anti-anxiety medicines
American Psychiatric Association http://www.psych.org
Anxiety Disorders Association of America http://www.adaa.org
Mental Health America http://www.nmha.org
Canadian Mental Health Association http://www.ontario.cmha.ca
Mental Health Canada http://www.mentalhealthcanada.com
Agoraphobia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what. Updated November 8, 2012. Accessed March 4, 2013.
Lenders JW, Eisenhofer G, et al. Phaeochromocytoma. Lancet. 2005;20-26;366:665-675.
Panic Disorder & Agoraphobia. Anxiety and Depression Association of America website. Available at: http://www.adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/panic-disorder-agoraphobia. Accessed March 4, 2013.
Phobias. American Psychiatric Association website. Available at: http://www.psychiatry.org/phobias. Accessed March 4, 2013.
Phobias. Mental Health America website. Available at: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/go/phobias. Accessed March 4, 2013.
PTSD. American Psychiatric Association website. Available at: http://www.psychiatry.org/ptsd. Accessed March 4, 2013.
Symptoms. Anxiety and Depression Association of America website. Available at: http://www.adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/panic-disorder-agoraphobia/symptoms. Accessed March 4, 2013.
- Reviewer: Brian Randall, MD
- Review Date: 06/2013 -
- Update Date: 06/24/2013 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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