Agoraphobia is diagnosed by a psychiatrist. Usually a person is referred to a psychiarist by a general practitioner (their primary care physician) who notices some signs of the disorder. The psychiatrist asks the patient about his or her feelings, general background and symptoms. According to the DSM-IV Diagnostic criteria for agoraphobia, a patient suffers from agoraphobia if:

-The person is anxious about being in a place or situation where escape or help may be difficult in the event of a panic attack, or panic like symptoms. Examples are being in a crowd or travelling on a bus.

– The person avoids these places

-The person endures these places with extreme anxiety

-The person endures these places only with the help of a friend or companion

-There is no underlying condition that may explain the person’s symptoms.

I, myself have experienced these symptoms and what it is like for a person, secondhand. As I mentioned in my first blog, my sister suffers from agoraphobia. I know that it is very difficult to get through and going manyplaces is not easy for her. It is hard for a person to just “suck it up” or “get over it” as we would like to say to them. I have gotten into any arguments with her because dealing with someone with agoraphobia is very frustrating. For example: we have gone into stores (clothing stores, food stores, etc.) where there used to be no problem with them. When it comes to going into them now she will either avoid going all together, or have a very hard time even getting into the store, or she will start to freak out and leave. Personally, I don’t think her disorder is as bad as many other people’s who suffer from this. Some places she is able to go into without a problem but some are a major issue. I know for one, that school was a big problem for her. She would constantly start panicking in a classroom and have to leave about 6 0r 7 times to go to the bathroom or nurses office where s would then come home. She used to make herself physically sick, which was the first time we realized she had a a problem.