Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD
Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
In this Article
- What is agoraphobia?
- What causes agoraphobia?
- What are the symptoms of agoraphobia?
- What are the risk factors for agoraphobia?
- When should one seek medical care for agoraphobia?
- How is agoraphobia diagnosed?
- How is agoraphobia treated?
- What are the complications of agoraphobia?
- Is there coping and support information for both agoraphobia patients and their family members and loved ones?
- Agoraphobia At A Glance
- Find a local Psychiatrist in your town
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.
What are the risk factors for agoraphobia?
Agoraphobia tends to begin by adolescence or early adulthood. Girls and women, Native Americans, middle-aged individuals, low-income populations, and individuals who are either widowed, separated, or divorced are at increased risk of developing agoraphobia. Individuals who are Asian, Hispanic, or of African/African-American descent tend to have a lower risk of developing this disorder.
While having a history of panic attacks is a risk factor for developing agoraphobia, agoraphobic individuals are at increased risk for developing panic attacks as well. Other anxiety disorders that tend to co-occur with agoraphobia include social anxiety disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. Even the use of alcohol can result in severe, temporary anxiety.
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