Did you know…?
* Agoraphobia is two types of anxiety disorders. It is a panic disorder and a phobia. The term “agoraphobia” literally means “fear of the marketplace.”
* Approximately 3.2 million Americans ages 18-54 suffer from this condition at any given time (National Institute of Mental Health).
* Agoraphobia can be caused by a combination of factors (physiological, genetic, family environment, personality).
* The onset usually occurs between late adolescence and the mid-30s.
* Approximately four times more women are diagnosed than men.
* Though depression is not technically a symptom, 50% of agoraphobics also experience depression.
* Agoraphobia is not a mental illness, even though panic attacks may make you feel like you are going crazy. It can be treated successfully with a good self-help program.
* Agoraphobia is not physically dangerous. Although the symptoms of agoraphobia can feel like a medical emergency, there is no record of anyone dying from anxiety, panic, or extreme fear.
* There is no quick fix or overnight cure for agoraphobia, as some self-proclaimed experts might claim on the internet. Research suggests that an effective cognitive-behavioral recovery program takes 12-16 weeks to significantly reduce the symptoms of anxiety and fear.
* Medication does not offer a cure. The most common medications prescribed for agoraphobia are benzodiazepines (Xanax, Ativan, Valium) and SSRI anti-depressants (Paxil, Prozac, Lexapro, Zoloft). However, medication stops working when you stop taking it and some medications can be addictive or have bad side effects.
* Agoraphobia, however, is treatable. The most effective treatment is the combination of cognitive and behavioral therapy, which can be practiced with or without professional help. An estimated 90% of people with who try cognitive-behavioral therapy make noticeable improvement.