Phobia is a condition in which the individual suffers from extreme anxiety, fear, and panic due to a situation or object. It causes physiological changes that affect feelings and behavior.
There are various types of phobias that affect the individual ability to regulate their emotions and behave rationally. The fear of being in an unsafe place is called agoraphobia. The individual suffers from anxiety attacks due to having an irrational fear of being unsafe, it can either be a crowded place or an open space.
Signs of Agoraphobia
The signs that an individual is suffering from agoraphobia are:
- In a specific situation, the individual fears they cannot escape the place.
- The individual standing alone in an open space without friends and family members causes an increase in heart palpitations and sweating.
- The individual standing in an enclosed space has an irrational fear that getting out is impossible. It causes physiological changes such as an increase in heart rate, sweating, and trembling.
- The individual avoids standing in line and using public transportation, even if they are missing important work, such as classes or meetings.
- The individual experiencing the episode suffers from extreme fear and anxiety, which affects their ability to understand their surroundings and act accordingly.
- The individual exhibiting signs of agoraphobia may struggle every day. Therefore, they require intervention, or the symptoms may worsen and lead to panic attacks.
Causes and Risk Factors Associated with Agoraphobia
The exact reason that causes an individual to feel unsafe in situations and places is not known. However, the contributing factors that lead to irrational fear and anxiety include:
- Childhood Abuse: Individuals who have been through childhood trauma and abuse struggle to feel unsafe alone. Hence, they are at a higher risk of suffering from agoraphobia and related complications.
- Sexual Assault and Harassment: People who have been through sexual assault, bullying, and harassment feel unsafe around unknown people or confined spaces. The suppression of emotions related to the traumatic event causes them to feel unsafe; hence, there is a higher chance of suffering from agoraphobia, suicidal ideation, and depression.
- Conditioning: Individuals with close family members and primary caregivers suffering from a phobia are more likely to experience the same symptoms in later life. The person observes and learns the behavior, which causes them to become anxious and fearful at unknown places.
- Other Mental Health Problems: The individual diagnosed with depression, anxiety disorder, or different types of phobias are more likely to suffer from agoraphobia without timely intervention. Thus, it is necessary to seek professional help to discuss the symptoms with a trained psychologist/psychiatrist for early diagnosis and timely treatment.
- Substance Abuse: Individuals experiencing difficult times and stress tend to find temporary solutions. Consuming alcohol and illicit drugs provide temporary relief from stress, anxiety, and depression. However, it leads to multiple physical and mental health problems. The individual experiences hallucinations and delusions that can lead to a phobia and related complications. Hence, people must understand the consequences of their behavior and find rational solutions to their problems.