Agoraphobia is a type of anxiety disorder, defined by its panic attacks of intense fear and horror. A panic attack is a short period of intensely heightened anxiety, characterized by chest pain, choking, dizziness, nausea, a racing heart, sweating and trembling. They appear at moments of incredible stress.
Agoraphobia specifically causes anxiety in environments that are not familiar or which are thought to have no easy escape. Places like shopping malls, airports, or bridges are common areas for an agoraphobic attack, which are most likely to occur in wide-open spaces or social situations in which the person has no control.
The trigger for agoraphobia is widely felt to be a fear of public embarrassment. Most of the people who suffer from it are just as afraid of having a panic attack as they are of the settings that originally inspired them. A feeling of insecurity and disorientation can overtake an affected person when in uncomfortable situations, which cause increased anxiety. In severe cases, agoraphobic people may become too disturbed to ever leave their home. This is why the disease is sometimes confused as a simple fear of crowds and public places.
The National Institute of Mental Health has calculated that around 3 million Americans between the ages of 18 and 54 have agoraphobia, and it is twice as likely to occur in women as men. It is assumed that people usually acquire this disease from experiencing an intense attack and fearing that one will occur again, causing an avoidance of the place where it happened or anywhere similar. The illness can develop at any age, but typically starts around 25.
If you are suffering from agoraphobia, it may have caused disruptions in your work life. If you have difficulty leaving your home due to agoraphobia, you may be eligible for long term disability benefits or Social Security disability benefits. For a free case evaluation, call disability attorney Nick A. Ortiz at (850) 898-9904 for more information.