Learn about the causes of Agoraphobia & find a practitioner in Auckland, Hamilton, Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin to help you overcome Agoraphobia within New Zealand.
Agoraphobia is an intense fear or phobia of being in a setting with no place to hide or means of escape. Agoraphobia is a form of anxiety disorder in which sufferers feel exposed and vulnerable triggering panic attacks. Agoraphobics develop avoidance behaviour for activities such as leaving the house, entering public spaces or travelling on their own. Treatment of agoraphobia includes drugs, cognitive behavioural therapy and psychotherapy.
Causes of agoraphobia
The exact cause of agoraphobia is unclear but research has discovered
that combined psychological and genetic factors may trigger the
Certain genes increase the chances of a person developing agoraphobia and this genetic predisposition can affect people in different ways. These genes may cause a brain chemical imbalance which alters mood and increases susceptibility to anxiety related disorders such as agoraphobia. Certain genes can increase sensory sensitivity to sounds, smells and sights. Excessive sensory input when in a crowded place may increase stress levels and cause anxiety.
The psychological factors that can lead to agoraphobia include:
Symptoms of agoraphobia
Agoraphobia symptoms are classified by three types: physical, psychological and behavioural.
The physical symptoms are triggered when the sufferer is placed in a situation that increases anxiety levels. The symptoms are not always experienced because the sufferer will use avoidance tactics to ensure they don't put themselves into circumstances which make them anxious.
Should someone with agoraphobia find themselves in an environment that raises their anxiety levels they may experience some of the following symptoms:
• Increased heart rate
• Hyperventilation (rapid breaths)
• Feeling hot
• Feeling sweaty
• Feeling dizzy
• Light headedness
• Trembles or shakes
• Ear ringing
Psychological symptoms of agoraphobia can be related to physical symptoms but this isn't always the case. Typically the sufferer will experience negative feelings or thoughts which impact on their ability to cope with day-to-day life. These thoughts can include:
Diagnosis of agoraphobia
A GP is the first port of call for anyone experiencing psychological
symptoms and the doctor will refer you to a mental health specialist.
If you're experiencing physical symptoms, a GP visit will rule out any
underlying problems that could be causing the symptoms.
If you are referred to a mental health specialist (typically a psychiatrist or psychologist) they will question you about your symptoms, thoughts and feelings and attempt to rule out any other mental health problems that may be triggering your agoraphobia. Until the underlying psychological problem is identified and addressed, agoraphobia symptoms can't be successfully treated.
People with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) may display symptoms of agoraphobia such as avoidance of crowded places because they fear catching people's germs. People with social phobias remain at home for fear of embarrassment in social situations.
There is a classification system for diagnosing agoraphobia. The criteria is as follows: