Agoraphobia without history of panic disorder
Agoraphobia typically develops as a result of having panic disorder. In a small minority of cases, however, agoraphobia can develop by itself without being triggered by the onset of panic attacks. Agoraphobia can be caused by traumatic experiences, such as bullying or abuse. Historically, there has been debate over whether agoraphobia without panic genuinely existed, or whether it was simply a manifestation of other disorders such as panic disorder, general anxiety disorder, avoidant personality disorder and social phobia. One researcher said: "out of 41 agoraphobics seen (at a clinic) during a period of 1 year, only 1 fit the diagnosis of agoraphobia without panic attacks, and even this particular classification was questionable...Do not expect to see too many agoraphobics without panic". In spite of this earlier skepticism, current thinking is that agoraphobia without panic disorder is indeed a valid, unique illness which has gone largely unnoticed, since its sufferers are far less likely to seek clinical treatment.
Diagnostic criteria (DSM-IV-TR)
According to the DSM-IV-TR, a widely used manual for diagnosing mental disorders, the condition is diagnosed when agoraphobia is present without panic disorder where symptoms are not caused by or are unreasonable to an underlying medical problem or pharmacological influence.
- Barlow, D. H. & Waddell, M. T. (1985) Agoraphobia. Ch 1 in Barlow, D. H. (Ed) Clinical handbook of psychological disorders: A step-by-step treatment manual. New York: Guilford.
- American Psychiatric Association (2000). "Diagnostic criteria for 300.22 Agoraphobia Without History of Panic Disorder". Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th, text revision (DSM-IV-TR) ed.). ISBN 0-89042-025-4. Retrieved 2007-06-28.
- Spiti Raffaello, Scarpato Maria Alessandra, Spiti Alessandra (2011). "Primary agoraphobia specific symptoms: from natural information to mental representations". Italian Journal of Psychopathology, 17 (3): 265-276.http://www.gipsicopatol.it/issues/2011/vol17-3/02Spiti.pdf
- Agoraphobia Without a History or Panic Disorder May Be Part of the Panic Disorder Syndrome. Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease, 190(9):624-630, September 2002.
- The Relationship of Agoraphobia and Panic in a Community Sample of Adolescents and Young Adults.
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- Anxiety Disorders Association of America Information for families, clinicians & researchers
- Anxiety Disorders Association of Canada Registered Canadian non-profit organization, promotes prevention, treatment & management of anxiety disorders
- ANXIETY UK (Formerly the National Phobics Society) Nationally registered charity in the UK; provides information, support & understanding
- The Phobic Trust (Of New Zealand) Registered charitable trust in New Zealand; provides information about treatment, education & support to anxiety disorder sufferers
- South African Depression and Anxiety group (National Charity) Counseling, mental health awareness programs: media & public speaking outreach & rural outreach initiatives
- Agoraphobia without history of panic disorder at DMOZ
- Self help guide (NHS Direct)