It should be noted that agoraphobia is a highly impactful and impairing form of anxiety disorder, which can imprison affected individuals both mentally and physically. The diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders or DSM-5 code for agoraphobia is 300.22 (F40.00) (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).
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It is listed under the category of anxiety disorders, where it is stated that “individuals with agoraphobia are fearful and anxious about two or more of the following situations: using public transportation; being in open spaces; being in enclosed places; standing in line or being in a crowd; or being outside of the home alone in other situations” (American Psychiatric Association, 2013, p. 190). In other words, there is a fear of crowded areas with little escape routes, which makes agoraphobic people feel “trapped” and “imprisoned.” Therefore, such individuals have difficulties of using public transportation services, visiting open spaces with crowded areas, and leaving home in general.
On the basis of the information, it is evident that the main cause of the disorder is an abnormal reaction to the triggering factors, which leads to the onset of panic symptoms. As with any anxiety-related disorder, agoraphobia is caused by the “fight or flight” reflex, which can become overly responsive due to past traumatic events, such as bereavement (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).
Such an abnormal reaction is facilitated by the thought pattern, where the affected individuals consider that “escape might be difficult or help might not be available in the event of developing panic-like symptoms or other incapacitating or embarrassing symptoms” (American Psychiatric Association, 2013, p. 190). One can be genetically inclined to be prone to more frequent and elevated panic reactions, but the main cause is linked to past experiences induced by traumatic events.
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). American Psychiatric Publishing.