On Agoraphobia

The word agora, which comes from Ancient Greece, actually means market place (Morrison, 2016, p.179). The word phobia comes from the Greek god Phobos, known for instilling fear and terror into his enemies. It is derived from phobos, meaning “escape”, “panic fear”, “terror”. Today it is used to mean ‘persistent or excessive fear’ associated with an object or situation that is not an objectively significant source of danger (Marks, 1969). Beck defines phobia as: “A fear of an object or situation in which the common opinion and self-evaluation of the person when he/she moves away from the situation is disproportionate to the probability and degree of threat posed by the situation in question.” (Beck & Emery, 2006, p. 206). Agoraphobia is used to mean the fear of situations or places where it would seem difficult or embarrassing for the person to escape when anxiety symptoms occur, and where help is not possible. Studies show that agoraphobia is more common in women and that they experienced panic attacks before (Morrison, 2016, p. 179). People with agoraphobia are away from home, in open areas such as markets, shopping malls, crowded environments, cinema or theater halls; They avoid being in places where they think they can’t get help or that it will be difficult to escape, and they feel fear and anxiety when they are in these places. As a result of perceived anxiety, some physiological changes occur in the mind and body. Pupils dilate, short and frequent breathing begins, the heartbeat accelerates, the muscles are tense, the person begins to sweat, tingling, chills, numbness and dizziness can be seen in the hands and feet. At this point, psychotherapy is a functional method to improve the skills of managing agoraphobic anxiety and symptoms and to minimize its effects on life.

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