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
- Agoraphobia facts
- 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 do physicians diagnose agoraphobia?
- What is the treatment for agoraphobia?
- What are the complications of agoraphobia?
- What is the prognosis for agoraphobia?
- Is it possible to prevent agoraphobia?
- Is there coping and support information for both agoraphobia patients and their family members and loved ones?
- Find a local Psychiatrist in your town
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.
When should one seek medical care for agoraphobia?
Call a doctor when the signs and symptoms of anxiety are not easily, quickly, and clearly relieved. For example
- if the symptoms are so severe that medication may be needed,
- if the symptoms are interfering with someone's personal, social, or professional life,
- if someone has chest pain, shortness of breath, headaches, palpitations, dizziness, fainting spells, or unexplained weakness,
- if someone is depressed, feeling suicidal or homicidal.
When the signs and symptoms suggest that anxiety may have been present for a prolonged period (more than a few days) and appear to be stable (not getting worse rapidly), it's advisable to make an appointment with a doctor for evaluation. But when the signs and symptoms are severe and come on suddenly, they may indicate serious medical illness that needs immediate evaluation and treatment in a hospital's emergency department.
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