Medical Dictionary: Fear of open spaces


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Fear of open spaces: Another name for Agoraphobia.
Fear of open spaces (condition): Fear of unfamiliar surroundings
Fear of open spaces (condition): Agoraphobia is often called "fear of open spaces" but this description is simplistic and misleading. Agoraphobia is like an unreasonable fear or anxiety associated with unfamiliar surroundings or situations, but this description also oversimplifies a complex issue.

In some cases, agoraphobia arises associated with panic attacks from panic disorder, and the fear of places or situations occurs when these were the triggers of the panic attacks. In other words, agoraphobia becomes like a "fear of having another panic attack" or a fear of anything or anywhere that might trigger a panic attack. A vicious cycle sets in where anxiety or fear of certain places or situations make a panic attack more likely to occur, which in turn raises the anxiety level.

Whatever its description, agoraphobia can be not only emotionally stressing, it can actually become debilitating, leading to a life of self-imposed isolation.

Fear of open spaces: Some people’s lives become greatly restricted -- they avoid normal everyday activities such as grocery shopping, driving, or, in some cases, even leaving the house. Or they may be able to confront a feared situation only if accompanied by a spouse or other trusted person. Basically, they avoid any situation they fear that would make them feel helpless if a panic attack occurs. When people’s lives become so restricted by the disorder, as happens in about one-third of all people with panic disorder, the condition is called agoraphobia.1

More information on medical condition: Agoraphobia:



Footnotes:
1. excerpt from Panic Disorder: NWHIC

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