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Arlin Cuncic

Prisoners of a Different Kind: The Difference Between Agoraphobia and Social Anxiety Disorder

By May 22, 2011

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Agoraphobia and social anxiety disorder (SAD) share some common symptoms but in other ways are very different. Agoraphobics fear being in places where escape would be difficult if they were to have a panic attack.

For example, an agoraphobic might fear being in an elevator or a crowd of people because if panic were to strike, there would be no way to leave.

People with SAD might also fear being in a crowd but for a different reason. They might feel like the people in the crowd are watching or judging them. They might worry that they will embarrass themselves somehow by behaving in an inappropriate way.

Most agoraphobics feel better when they are in the company of someone they know well. People with SAD may feel worse having a friend along, because that friend is just another set of eyes.

The disorders are both incapacitating but in different ways. Agoraphobics are prisoners in their own homes, while those with SAD often live in a prison of solitude.

What do you think? Do you live with agoraphobia or SAD?

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Comments
May 23, 2011 at 10:05 am
(1) Kyle says:

I have SAD and I have to say that I’ve been going through difficulties this year that have increased my tendencies to stay inside and not leave my home. I feel that judgment is so great whenever I leave that it is too great to face. Although I’ve never been diagnosed as having agoraphobia. The way it is described here, I don’t believe I have that disorder. However, I think that those with severe SAD can exhibit extreme social isolation very similar to agoraphobia, but I think it is more related to the frequent comorbidity of major depressive disorder that accompanies SAD.

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