Find out how agoraphobia is diagnosed. Your GP will ask you about your symptoms and how they are affecting your daily life and behaviour.
Speak to your GP if you think you have agoraphobia.
If you're unable to visit your GP in person, it should be possible to arrange a telephone consultation.
Your GP will ask you to describe your symptoms, how often they occur, and in what situations. It's very important to tell your GP about how you've been feeling and how your symptoms are affecting you.
They'll also want to know how your symptoms are affecting your daily behaviour. For example, they may ask:
- Do you find it stressful leaving the house?
- Are there certain places or situations you have to avoid?
- Have you adopted any avoidance strategies to help cope with your symptoms, such as relying on others to shop for you?
It can be difficult to talk to someone else about your feelings, emotions and personal life, but try not to feel anxious or embarrassed. Your GP needs to know as much as possible about your symptoms to make the correct diagnosis and recommend the most appropriate treatment.
Your GP may want to do a physical examination, and in some cases they may decide to carry out blood tests to look for signs of any physical conditions that could be causing your symptoms.
For example, an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism) can sometimes cause symptoms that are similar to the symptoms of a panic attack.
By ruling out any underlying medical conditions, your GP will be able to make the correct diagnosis.
Confirming the diagnosis
A diagnosis of agoraphobia can usually be made if:
- you're anxious about being in a place or situation where escape or help may be difficult if you feel panicky or have a panic attack, such as in a crowd or on a bus
- you avoid situations described above, or endure them with extreme anxiety or the help of a companion
- there's no other underlying condition that may explain your symptoms
If there's any doubt about the diagnosis, you may be referred to a psychiatrist for a more detailed assessment.