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Agoraphobia and Panic Attacks

Agoraphobia is the word used to describe anyone who has an intense, and “irrational” fear of certain places or situations, and is derived from the Greek words “fear” and “marketplace.”

People suffering from agoraphobia thus have the fear of entering shops, leaving home, being in crowds or public places (for instance going to the cinema), travelling alone on buses, trains or planes.

Strongly linked to panic attacks (or panic disorder), agoraphobia can strike at any time for reasons which have yet to be properly explained by doctors, and scientists. It has been estimated that 10 million people in Britain suffer from some form of phobia, and that around 5 million of them have agoraphobia. In the United States, agoraphobia is said to be the most common phobia experienced by its citizens, with over 6 million adults affected. In both countries, women are said to be affected twice as much as men.

It is the general consensus in the medical profession across the world that people suffering from agoraphobia either have agoraphobia and panic attacks (the agoraphobia being a direct result of having a panic attack), or just have agoraphobia on its own. Research has shown that around half of those with agoraphobia have no prior experience of panic attacks. In these cases, the agoraphobia might have been brought on by a fear of crime or terrorism, sudden illness or accident.

Having said that, studies have also revealed that people who have not had previous panic attacks, but do have agoraphobia, do have a fear that they may experience a panic attack at sometime. People, who initially experience panic attacks, do so from a fear that they may suddenly stop breathing, or that their heart will start racing and bring on a heart attack. Generally, a panic attack is caused when someone starts to worry about being in an environment, or situation that will become embarrassing, dangerous or threatening to them, and where getting help, or escaping proves impossible.


There are three main categories of symptoms to agoraphobia and panic attacks brought on by a heightened state of anxiety, and these are physical, psychological, and behavioral. Physical symptoms include rapid heartbeat, rapid breathing, feeling hot/sweaty, nausea, upset stomach, chest pain, difficulty swallowing, diarrhea, trembling, dizziness, ringing in the ears, feeling faint.

The psychological symptoms include having a fear of looking stupid or embarrassed in front of other people, or that a panic attack will be life-threatening, or that it will be difficult to escape from a certain place or situation. The psychological aspect also includes a fear of insanity, of people staring them, which results in them blushing, or trembling. There are other psychological symptoms linked to agoraphobia which are not associated with panic attacks. These are feelings of low esteem, and general feelings of depression, anxiety, and dread.

The behavioral symptoms all stem from either of the other two, and lead to the agoraphobia sufferer adopting depressive, or obsessive behavior, including practices of avoidance of their “normal” activities (driving, sports, leaving the house) for fear that these activities could lead to a panic attack.

But what brings this on? What triggers agoraphobia, and panic attacks? Well, there are many theories. According to Gale Encyclopedia of Mental Disorder, it could be down to either genetics, innate temperament (from birth, childhood), physiological reactions to illness (respiratory disease causing fearful beliefs), life events (fear of separation from parents during childhood), learned behavior (avoidance of situations following an initial fearful first experience in public – i.e. boarding a bus), or social factors related to gender (girls with a more fragile sense of self always being told to be ‘careful’ when venturing out in public).

Anyone experiencing any of the symptoms described above is advised to seek medical advice, although psychotherapy has been proven to be the best form of help rather than medication as drugs (even tea and coffee) tends to exacerbate the problem in the long term.

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"I am a recent user of the Linden Method (indeed just started last week!) I was suffering from anxiety and panick attacks since last year, it got so disturbing I thought that even death was better, my thoughts drove me crazy and also these feelings which came with derealisation and depersonalisation. I then found the linden method as I was looking at videos on YouTube, about anxiety.

At first I was worried that it would not work, I was so negative and I did not want to spend my money (I was really bitter) but my friends checked it out and really wanted me to try this one, so I got the downloadable version. The effect it had was amazing! The panic attacks stopped immediately (I did not have one since then) and now after a week my anxiety is just like a faded shadow-still lingering but I have my life back in control, I enjoy going out and participating in fun activities! To all fellow sufferers I'd say - life is waaays to beautiful! Don't waste another day and get the Linden Method! The money you spend on it is nothing compared to what you get out of it.

Thank you so much."

Karin Regenass

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Stop Panic Attacks With The Linden Method