Anxiety Disorders: Common Symptoms Of Agoraphobia

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Anxiety disorders are some of the most common mental disorder.
Agoraphobia was first termed by German physician Carl Friedrich Otto Westphal in 1871. It comes from the “Agora”, meaning marketplace, and “phobia” meaning “fear of”. Westphal was a well-respected physician “In his time Westphal was one of the most highly regarded doctors in Berlin” (Knapp & Schumacher, 1988, p.8) and discovered agoraphobia through his study of three men. Each man exhibited the common symptom of fearing walking through public spaces, “each of the patients experienced anticipatory anxiety at the thought of going to shops, the theatre, or having to cross open spaces” (Knapp & Schumacher, 1988, p.23). Each man’s fear would cause them intense anxiety which would only be remedied by avoiding the situation or “In each case, the presence of friends, or even a vehicle,
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23). Each patient exhibited common traits seen in todays diagnosed patients, such as involuntary anxiety reactions occurring with no reason that the patient can give or understanding during a trivial situation, resulting in restricted mobility. (Knapp & Schumacher, 1988, p. 23). As a result of Westphal’s discoveries, he published the first paper ‘Die Agoraphobie’, which described and coined the term “agoraphobia”. Because of this he is given credit as the first person to give these symptoms a name, despite a few earlier publications describing similar symptoms in other patients. Despite Westphal’s discoveries, agoraphobia would not be classified until the publication of the DSM-III in 1980. Initially, agoraphobia was considered a secondary diagnosis following the primary diagnoses of panic disorder. A change came later as agoraphobia was split into two categories, panic disorder with and
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