How is Agoraphobia Diagnosed?

by Jason on November 27, 2009

how is agoraphobia diagnosed

Have you ever felt anxious about stepping outside your door only to feel immediately vulnerable to death or germs. Agoraphobia is the abnormal fear of being in crowds, public places, or open areas, sometimes accompanied by anxiety attacks.

It’s only of the MOST disabiling forms of anxiety because it completely immobalizes you. No more visiting family and friends during holiday time. No more walking your dog. No more seeing your child at their first little league game. Nope! With Agoraphobia, stepping outside your door just doesn’t seem worth the risk.

Now, I know – if you don’t suffer from this form of anxiety (consider yourself lucky) this concept can be difficult to comprehend. A lot of OCD sufferers can relate to Agoraphobics because essentially, Agoraphobia is the next level of superstitious or obsessive behavior. The fear is so gripping that the person believes death, pain or disease is just outside the comfort of their own home.

A lot of Agoraphibics experience symptoms like dizziness, nausea, panic attacks and overwhelming fear the further they get from their home. The moment the step outside their threshold, panic ensues. It can be incredibly traumatic.

How is agoraphobia diagnosed?

Agoraphobia is diagnosed primarily through a psychological evaluation. In most cases, your doctor or mental health professional will pose some questions, and ask you to describe the symptoms and signs that you are experiencing.

Some aspects include relating scenarios to your physician, time when the symptoms occur, the intensity of the symptom, and the duration when experienced. In addition, you might be asked to talk about how your life has been changed due to the symptoms felt. Places or situations you usually avoid would also be asked.

Agoraphobia is also diagnosed through a physical exam. Physical exams diagnose agoraphobia through spotting the same signs and symptoms found in lung, heart, and other similar conditions. Doctors generally look for reactions similar to a panic attack, while posing questions and even pushing the patient into situations they normally find uncomfortable. It’s essentially the same as the first step a psychologist would take when inducing cognitive behavioral therapy.

To be fully diagnosed with agoraphobia, you must meet the criteria specified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM. This is a manual that is published by the America Psychiatric Association, and mental health professionals use this to diagnose mental conditions. It’s pretty much the manual for this disorder. At a minimum, for you to be diagnosed with agoraphobia, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Avoidance of situations or places where you feel you might have a panic attack or have great anxiety when placed in those situations.
  • Anxiety about being in situations or places where you feel uncomfortable or embarrassed to escape.

If you think you’re going through denial or are just flat out unsure whether you suffer from Agoraphobia, ask a trusted friend or family member if they have noticed changes in you.

If they say that you are reluctant to leave home without company, or if they say that they have noticed that you always find reasons not to leave the home, then it may be time to seek professional help,. That way, if you do have agoraphobia, it can be diagnosed properly and at an early time.

Once agoraphobia is diagnosed, it doesn’t mean you’re out of options. Actually, it’s just the beginning for you . The recovery is LONG and hard but the reward is your independence and freedom.

The “Panic Away” program on the next page has had thousands of Agoraphobics naturally recover from their panic and anxiety in incredibly short periods of time. Check out the program here and see how you can improve and end your agoraphobia for good with a proven, NATURAL solution that’s already been shown to start working in days.

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