What exactly is Agoraphobia?

The Agora was an open “place of assembly” in ancient Greece. The word Agoraphobia, the fear of potentially critical public situations, derives from agora in its meaning as a gathering place.

DSM Criteria for Agoraphobia

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is published by the American Psychiatric Association.

A. Anxiety about being in places or situations from which escape might be difficult (or embarrassing) or in which help may not be available in the event of having an unexpected or situationally predisposed Panic Attack or panic-like symptoms. Agoraphobic fears typically involve characteristic clusters of situations that include being outside the home alone; being in a crowd, or standing in a line; being on a bridge; and travelling in a bus, train, or automobile.

B. The situations are avoided (eg, travel is restricted) or else are endured with marked distress or with anxiety about having a Panic Attack or panic-like symptoms, or require the presence of a companion.

C. The anxiety or phobic avoidance is not better accounted for by another mental disorder, such as Social Phobia, Specific Phobia, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder or Separation Anxiety Disorder.


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