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agoraphobia case study

The word ‘agoraphobia’ is derived from the Greek agora, meaning a marketplaceand phobos, meaning fear. Despite the popular notion that agoraphobia is a fearof open spaces, Ash asserts that this is not the case and defines agoraphobia as‘a fear of being in public places’. Consequently, the person avoidspublic places such as buses, trains, shopping centres or any public place where theirlevel of anxiety could reach such a degree that they would not be able to controlthis. Agoraphobia is more prevalent in the female population; females accountfor 66% of sufferers. The onset of agoraphobia canoccur at any time from mid to late teens and onwards. If left untreated, the personcan spend months, and sometimes years, indoors without going into public places.Agoraphobia can also be known as ‘phobic anxiety’.

Paula is an 18-year-old student nurse who recently left home in the countrysideto study in London. Paula was very happy to study in London as this was herfirst time away from home and her first time living in London. Additionally,her training in London could help her career prospects. One weekend, Pauladecided to walk into the West End to see the sights of the city. However,when walking on Regent Street, Paula became overwhelmed with the amountof people who were walking towards her. She felt totally bombarded by thecrowds of people because she was not used to this. However, this seemed tobe repeated everywhere she went, be it on public transportation or in shops.Consequently, Paula avoided crowds and public places and failed to attend herlectures and placements. As a result, her nurse training was terminated. Paulafelt envious of her colleagues who appeared to adapt to the way of life in abig city.

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