Agoraphobia is defined by irrational fear while facing or anticipating two or more situations. Patients can have a crippling fear of crowded spaces, closed spaces, or public transport. This condition can be so debilitating that patients might refuse to leave their homes.
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of of Mental Disorders (DSM), symptoms must last more than 6 months.
Agoraphobia is typically seen in patients with comorbid panic disorder. Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder characterized by recurring panic attacks, which are associated with fear of the attacks and behavioral modifications to avoid these episodes. Panic attacks are characterized by intense fear that may include palpitations, shaking, shortness of breath, and a feeling that something terrible is going to happen.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is the first-line therapy for agoraphobia. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy based on analyzing and reforming maladaptive thoughts that are contributing to emotional and behavioral distress.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can be used for the treatment of agoraphobia. SSRIs are a class of drug which work by selectively inhibiting serotonin reuptake into presynaptic cells, increasing the neurotransmitter's availability in the synaptic cleft.
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