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What is agoraphobia?

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A phobia is generally defined as the unrelenting fear of a situation, activity, or thing that causes one to want to avoid it. The definition of agoraphobia is a fear of being outside or otherwise being in a situation from which one either cannot escape or from which escaping would be difficult or humiliating.

Phobias are largely under reported, probably because many phobia sufferers find ways to avoid the situations to which they are phobic. The fact that agoraphobia often occurs in combination with panic disorder makes tracking how often it occurs all the more difficult. Other facts about agoraphobia include that researchers estimate it occurs in less than 1 percent to almost 7 percent of the population and that it is specifically thought to be grossly under diagnosed.

What causes agoraphobia?

There are a number of theories about what can cause agoraphobia. One hypothesis is that agoraphobia develops in response to repeated exposure to anxiety-provoking events. Mental-health theory that focuses on how individuals react to internal emotional conflicts (psychoanalytic theory) describes agoraphobia as the result of a feeling of emptiness that comes from an unresolved Oedipal conflict, which is a struggle between the feelings the person has toward the opposite-sex parent and a sense of competition with the same-sex parent. Although agoraphobia, like other mental disorders, is caused by a number of factors, it also tends to run in families and for some people, may have a clear genetic factor contributing to its development.

What are the symptoms of agoraphobia?

The symptoms of agoraphobia include anxiety that one will have a panic attack when in a situation from which escape is not possible or is difficult or embarrassing. The panic attack associated with agoraphobia, like all panic attacks, may involve intense fear, disorientation, rapid heart beat, dizziness, or diarrhea. Agoraphobic individuals often begin to avoid the situations that provoke these reactions. Interestingly, the situations that are often avoided by people with agoraphobia and the environments which cause people with balance disorders to feel disoriented are quite similar. This leads some cases of agoraphobia to be considered as vestibular function agoraphobia.

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Hiya Sopho

To be honest i am not sure if fear of crossing bridges is one of the early symptoms or not perhaps ask your doctor

All i came up with was this below

Fear of crossing bridges: An abnormal and persistent fear of crossing bridges. Sufferers of this phobia experience undue anxiety even though they realize their fear is irrational. Their fear may result partly from the fear of enclosure (claustrophobia) or the fear of heights (acrophobia). Phobic drivers may worry about being in an accident in busy traffic or losing control of their vehicles. High bridges over waterways and gorges can be especially intimidating, as can be very long or very narrow bridges.

Fear of crossing bridges is a relatively common phobia although most people with it do not know they have something called "gephyrophobia." However, the derivation of the word "gephyrophobia" is perfectly straightforward (if you know Greek); it is derived from the Greek words "gephyra" (bridge) and "phobos" (fear).

Hope this helps a bit :)

love dino


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Think these 'What Is' posts about each phobia and mental health issue by topic is a great idea, though I do think that the sources being used for them could be more helpful, practical and user friendly for people researching these topics for the first time, and possibly while in a state of distress. I haven't read all of them, but the ones I have seen don't seem to have been produced for the lay person. This one for Agoraphobia also contains some very controversial theories that are no doubt the subject of debate among academics, let alone sufferers. Although the theories discussed have a valid place in psychiatric medicine, I'm not sure how helpful new members would find them. Perhaps alongside (or preferably instead of) Oedipal Theory, the reasons listed for what causes Agoraphobia could include some more simple, practical, real life examples (PTSD, stress, depression, physical health problems, bad experiences while outside, to name but a few). As I said, I think these posts are a great idea, and info like this is perhaps one of the main reasons new members sign up to the forum in the first place, I just think the needs of the audience reading this requires a little more consideration. Perhaps these 'What Is' posts could be written by members who suffer from these issues, and then verified with research by Admin. I'd be happy to come up with something for agoraphobia and a few other topics, and I'm sure there are others who would be willing also. Just my opinion and others may disagree with me. I do appreciate all the hard work you guys are doing here on the forum and understand how difficult it must be finding all the relevant info.

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My apologies i tried my best :(

Here is more info perhaps this one is more suitable

Everyone suffers differently to every phobia so not easy getting this right :huh:

What is agoraphobia?

Agoraphobia is the fear of being in a situation where one might experience anxiety or panic and where escape from the situation might be difficult or embarrassing. People with agoraphobia may feel anxious about such things as loss of bladder or bowel control or choking on food in the presence of others. They also might feel anxious about being home alone, leaving home, or being in a crowded place, such as on public transportation or in an elevator, where it might be difficult or embarrassing to find a way out. To avoid the anxiety associated with these situations they refrain from putting themselves into such situations.

The severity of agoraphobia is quite variable. Some people with agoraphobia live essentially normal lives as they avoid potentially anxiety-provoking situations. However, in severe cases of agoraphobia, people are homebound. These people work very hard to avoid any and all situations that might cause them to become anxious.

What characteristics are associated with agoraphobia?

Two major characteristics are associated with agoraphobia:

People develop anxiety when thinking about being in a situation out of their comfort zone. They fear feeling trapped in a situation where they judge it would be difficult or embarrassing for them to leave the situation.

People avoid those situations which bring them anxiety or panic. It is the fear of the anxiety that leads to the agoraphobia.

Does agoraphobia affect males, females or both?

About twice as many women than men report that they experience agoraphobia. Frequently, people report that the onset of their agoraphobia followed a stressful or traumatic event in their lives.

At what age does agoraphobia begin?

The most common age for agoraphobia to begin is when a person is in his/her mid to late 20’s.

How is agoraphobia diagnosed?

People suffering from agoraphobia sometimes fear that they are "losing" their mind or "going crazy" because of their fears and anxiety. Consequently, they might seek advice from a mental health professional.

Also, it is common for a friend or family member to notice that another person is reluctant to leave home without a companion. For instance, a spouse might notice that his/her mate finds reasons not to leave home. In these cases, the friend or family member often urges the agoraphobic to seek professional help.

A mental health professional arrives at the diagnosis of agoraphobia by taking a careful personal history from the client/patient. There are no laboratory tests required to confirm a diagnosis of agoraphobia nor are there any physical conditions that must be met. However, it is very important for the therapist not to overlook a physical illness that might mimic or contribute to a psychological disorder. If there is any doubt about a medical problem, the mental health professional should refer to a physician who will perform a complete physical examination and request any necessary laboratory tests.

How is agoraphobia treated?

There are three main types of treatment for agoraphobia:



Combination of therapy and medications

Behavior and cognitive therapy are the treatments of choice for agoraphobia. If panic accompanies the agoraphobia, people are sometimes referred for a brief course of a prescribed medication, such as an antianxiety medication.

What happens to someone with agoraphobia?

Severe cases of agoraphobia can be very difficult to treat and can last many years.

What can people do if they need help?

If you, a friend, or a family member would like more information and you have a therapist or a physician, please discuss your concerns with that person.

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<thumbs up> Think that one is very informative :) Didn't mean to get at you Dino, think you're doing a great job with the new forum xxx

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To readers.

Dino herself suffers along with myself with some of these phobias.. Who better but her to explain what she lives with each day .... :unsure:

Bravo Dino ,.. :) For all the work u have done here in explaining things ,, and I do , and I am sure most others do appreciate.. what u have added to the forum...

Love ,



Ps. I suffer with PTSD and have for last 17 yrs. have come a long way with help from meds , and many ppl here who have been so good to me in the last four years... I appreciate anything any of them do to help others in the same way .. U all know who u are,, God Bless xx

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On the subject of thanks that Flo and Cat have extended towards Dino, I too would like to say thanks. Thank you Dino for putting up descriptions of all the disorders in the forum. I was quite surprised at the length and detail of some of them, and I'm sure it took you your fair share of time to put it all together. Thank you again for your contribution, it is much appreciated. Take care- Allen

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thankYouRosesWhReflect.gifall for your kind words i hope to sort posts etc out a bit more professionally once i can get over this dizziness panic etc i have so severe atm it is preventing me from barely managing to be out of bed more than a couple hours a day :mellow:

Then again maybe a good thing stops me bloody moaning non stop :lol: :lol:

c1f18a2b.jpgto you all

love dino


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Wow....I've been claiming not to be agora but maybe I am. I can relate to the video but thought because I do go out that I was just a canidate. The part of family and friends seeing it first rings true, they realized if left on my own I'd be a no show so they started assigning me a tender. When I'm with someone else I become a protector. Very interesting Dino....now I have to think this through.

Love Ya All.......Pog

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