Agoraphobia

Agoraphobia literally means 'fear of the marketplace'. Patients are afraid to visit shops or use public transport, especially if alone, and some are afraid to leave home at all. Panic attacks may occur in the feared situation, and some cases are secondary to panic disorder. Many patients are young women of dependent personality, whose partners may be overprotective and often have neurotic symptoms themselves. Behaviour therapy involving regular exposure to the feared situation is the best treatment. Medication may also help.

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