Diagnosis of Agoraphobia

Agoraphobia needs to be diagnosed by a specialist in mental illnesses and therefore, when you consult your general practitioner (GP) about the symptoms you have been experiencing, you will probably be asked to visit a psychiatrist. For an accurate diagnosis of Agoraphobia, the psychiatrist will:

  • Get a detailed description of all the symptoms you have been experiencing, to rule out the possibility of other problems.
  • Ask you questions about your medical history, and perhaps also your family’s medical history
  • Seek information about any past incidents that may have been too difficult to handle, like getting bullied at school or experiencing an earthquake
  • Inquire about your consumption of alcohol, illegal drugs or any other such substances.
Therefore, it may be a good idea for you to make a note of all this information, before your appointment is scheduled.

Your psychiatrist will confirm that you are suffering from agoraphobia only if you meet certain criteria set by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The criteria for agoraphobia diagnosis include:

  • Anxiety over being in situations or places that can be embarrassing, difficult to get out of or in which you probably won’t get help, if you experience the symptoms of a panic attack
  • Avoiding any of the situations or places mentioned above
  • Enduring the places mentioned above, but with extreme difficulty or, with the help of a trusted companion.
However, there are several mental health experts who criticize the classification system, due to certain factors.