Internet Mental Health

AGORAPHOBIA






Internet Mental Health Quality of Life Scale (Client Version)

Internet Mental Health Quality of Life Scale (Therapist Version)

Big 5 Factors Of Mental Illness And Code For This Disorder
(The "6th Big Factor" of Mental Health, "Physical Health", Is Coded Normal or Green)

  • Has phobic fear and avoidance of a number of situations where escape might be difficult or help might not be available if needed.

  • Causes clinically significant distress or impairment.

  • Is not due to a medical or substance use disorder.

Prediction

    Chronic

Problems

Occupational-Economic Problems:

  • Causes significant impairment in academic, occupational and/or social functioning.

  • When severe, the individual is unable to leave house without a companion.

Detached (Detachment):

  • Social withdrawal or housebound due to avoidance of the phobic situations.

Negative Emotions (Negative Emotion):

  • Phobic fears of leaving home, entering shops, crowds and public places, or travelling alone in trains, buses or planes.

  • Increased risk of Panic Disorder, depressive and obsessional symptoms and Social Phobia.

Medical:

  • Somatic fears (younger individuals fear panic attacks; older individuals fear falling down or becoming medically incapacitated far from home).


Fear, Generalized Anxiety, Phobia, Panic, Obsession, and Compulsion

Fearful avoidance is part of our instinctual "flight" response to adversity.

Our ancestors learned to fear dangerous things (e.g., snakes), and this harm avoidance saved their lives.

However, fear can spiral out of control. For example, an individual can develop a phobia to snakes in which the fear becomes excessive. The individual may then panic if exposed to snakes. This phobia can develop into an obsession in which the individual spends much of the time thinking about snakes, and how to avoid them. The obsession can develop into a compulsion in which the individual spends much of the time doing superstitious, compulsive, ritual behaviors aimed at avoiding snakes.

There are stages in the escalation of fear:

  • Normal Fear:
    Fear is normal if it is in proportion to the actual danger posed by the specific object or situation, and this fear doesn't cause significant distress or disability.

  • Generalized Anxiety:
    Fear can become excessive, and generalized with excessive anxiety and worry about a number of objects or situations. This anxiety is often associated with avoidance of the feared objects or situations and irritability. This occurs in agoraphobia.

  • Phobia:
    Fear can become excessive, and specifically attached to specific objects or situations (e.g., fear of flying). This phobic fear is out of proportion to the actual danger posed by these feared objects or situations, and the individual desperately tries to avoid whatever triggers the phobia. This phobic fear causes significant distress or disability.

    In agoraphobia, phobias develop about 2 or more of the following 5 situations:
    • Using public transportation (e.g., automobiles, buses, trains, ships, planes).
    • Being in open spaces (e.g., parking lots, marketplaces, bridges).
    • Being in enclosed places (e.g., shops, theaters, cinemas).
    • Standing in line or being in a crowd.
    • Being outside of the home alone.

    In addition, individuals with agoraphobia have an increased risk of developing social phobia.

  • Panic:
    Phobic individuals can develop a full-blown panic attack if exposed to the objects or situations that they phobically fear. This commonly occurs in agoraphobia.

  • Obsession:
    If the individual develops persistent, unwanted thoughts about the phobia; this is defined as an obsession. An obsession is an unwanted, recurrent, persistent, fear-provoking intrusive thought. Individuals with agoraphobia have an increased risk of developing obsessional symptoms.

  • Compulsion:
    A compulsion is a ritual an individual develops to combat an obsession. Thus compulsions are fear-relieving avoidance behaviors. The individual feels driven to perform these compulsions. Unlike in obsessive-compulsive disorder, individuals with agoraphobia usually do not develop compulsions in response to their phobias.

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Click Here For Free Diagnosis

Limitations of Self-Diagnosis

Self-diagnosis of this disorder is often inaccurate. Accurate diagnosis of this disorder requires assessment by a qualified practitioner trained in psychiatric diagnosis and evidence-based treatment.

However, if no such professional is available, our free computerized diagnosis is usually accurate when completed by an informant who knows the patient well. Computerized diagnosis is less accurate when done by patients (because they often lack insight).

Example Of Our Computer Generated Diagnostic Assessment

Agoraphobia without History of Panic Disorder 300.22

This diagnosis is based on the following findings:
  • Never had Panic Disorder
  • Had fearful avoidance of many panic-provoking situations (still present)
  • This condition was not due to a medical disorder
  • This condition was not due to another mental disorder

TREATMENT GOALS:

  • Goal: prevent avoidance of panic-provoking situations.
    If this problem persists: Her anxiety may eventually make her housebound.


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Agoraphobia F40.0 - ICD10 Description, World Health Organization

Agoraphobia is a fairly well-defined cluster of phobias embracing fears of leaving home, entering shops, crowds and public places, or travelling alone in trains, buses or planes. Panic disorder is a frequent feature of both present and past episodes. Depressive and obsessional symptoms and social phobias are also commonly present as subsidiary features. Avoidance of the phobic situation is often prominent, and some agoraphobics experience little anxiety because they are able to avoid their phobic situations.
Agoraphobia - Diagnostic Criteria, American Psychiatric Association

An individual diagnosed with agoraphobia needs to meet all of the following criteria:

  • Marked fear or anxiety about two (or more) of the following five situations:

    • Using public transportation (e.g., automobiles, buses, trains, ships, planes).

    • Being in open spaces (e.g., parking lots, marketplaces, bridges).

    • Being in enclosed places (e.g., shops, theaters, cinemas).

    • Standing in line or being in a crowd.

    • Being outside of the home alone.

  • The individual fears or avoids these situations because of thoughts that escape might be difficult or help might not be available in the event of developing panic-like symptoms or other incapacitating or embarrassing symptoms (e.g., fear of falling in the elderly; fear of incontinence).

  • The agoraphobic situations are actively avoided, require the presence of a companion, or are endured with intense fear or anxiety.

  • The fear or anxiety is out of proportion to the actual danger posed by the agoraphobic situations and to the sociocultural context.

  • The fear, anxiety, or avoidance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

  • If another medical condition (e.g., inflammatory bowel disease, Parkinson's disease) is present, the fear, anxiety, or avoidance is clearly excessive.

  • The fear, anxiety, or avoidance is not better explained by the symptoms of another mental disorder - for example, the symptoms are not confined to specific phobia, situational type; do no involve only social situations (as in social anxiety disorder); and are not related exclusively to obsessions (as in obsessive-compulsive disorder), perceived defects or flaws in physical appearance (as in body dysmorphic disorder), reminders of traumatic events (as in posttraumatic stress disorder), or fear of separation (asin separatioin anxiety disorder).

  • Note: Agoraphobia is diagnosed irrespective of the presence of panic disorder. If an individual's presentation meets criteria for panic disorder and agoraphobia, both diagnoses should be assigned.

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Diagnostic Features

Agoraphobia is a cluster of phobias embracing fears of using public transportation, being in open spaces (e.g., parking lots, marketplaces, bridges), being in enclosed places (e.g., shops, theaters), standing in line or being in a crowd, or being outside of the home alone. The fear is clearly excessive. Avoidance of the phobic situation is prominent, and some agoraphobics experience little anxiety because they are able to avoid their phobic situations.

Complications

Fear and its avoidance are the core features of all anxiety disorders. Agoraphobia can be thought of as "generalized phobic disorder" in which individuals develop many phobias that cause significant distress or disability. More than one-third of individuals with agoraphobia are homebound and unable to work; thus they are dependent on others to provide for their basic needs.

Comorbidity

Commonly has Panic Disorder, Specific Phobia, Social Phobia, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder. Often these individuals may inappropriately self-medicate their anxiety with alcohol or sedatives, and thus may develop addiction as a consequence.

Associated Laboratory Findings

No laboratory test has been found to be diagnostic of this disorder.

Prevalence

The 1-year prevalence rate in adolescents and adults is 1.7%, but this drops to 0.4% after age 65. Agoraphobia is rare in childhood, but its incidence peaks in late adolescence and early adulthood. Women are twice as likely as men to develop agoraphobia.

Course

Agoraphobia and panic disorder are closely associated. The majority of individuals with panic disorder have signs of agoraphobia before the onset of panic disorder. Likewise, 30% or more of individuals with agoraphobia have panic disorder before the onset of their agoraphobia. Onset of agoraphobia is before age 35 in two-thirds of individuals. The mean age of onset is 17 years. The course of agoraphobia is chronic and persistent. Complete recovery is rare (10%), unless treated.

Familial Pattern

Heritability for Agoraphobia is 61% (the strongest for all phobias).

Effective Therapies

There is very little research on the treatment of Agoraphobia Without Panic Disorder. Research on the treatment of Agoraphobia With Panic Disorder has found that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) [given by a therapist or by a computer], SSRI antidepressants, and clonazepam (an antianxiety medication) are all equally effective. It now appears that exposure therapy is more effective for Agoraphobia, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is more effective for Panic Disorder.

Ineffective therapies

Research has shown tricyclic antidepressants (like imipramine) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) are ineffective in the treatment of agoraphobia. Vitamins and dietary supplements are ineffective for this disorder.

A Dangerous Cult


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Videos

Stories

Rating Scales


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Treatment Guidelines

Treatment

All effective psychological treatments for Anxiety Disorders incorporate one or more of the following: (1) cognitive exposure (mentally facing the fear), (2) behavioral exposure (physically facing the fear), (3) correcting maladaptive coping (eliminating the negative thinking and superstitious behaviors associated with the fear), and (4) reducing stressors (reducing health/economic/occupational/social stressors using a problem-solving approach).

  • Agoraphobia - Treatment - NHS Choices (UK)
  • Self-treatment of agoraphobia by exposure:
    Phobic outpatients were randomly assigned to receive self-exposure instructions from a psychiatrist, a self-help book or a computer programmed with those instructions. 40 agoraphobics completed the study and 6 did not (2 per condition). Mean therapy time of the psychiatrist per agoraphobic in the 3 conditions was 3.1, 0 and 1.2 hours respectively. All 3 groups of agoraphobics improved substantially up to 6 months followup, with no significant differences between them. Appropriate exposure instructions can confer major therapeutic benefits despite only brief contact with the clinician; outcome was comparable with that from therapist-aided exposure or antidepressants in other studies using similar phobia scales.

Treatment - Summarized From Royal Australian & New Zealand College Of Psychiatrists Treatment Guideline (2003)

Since most Agoraphobia is a result of having Panic Disorder; these treatment guidelines for Agoraphobia are essentially the treatment guidelines for treating Panic Disorder.

Psychological Treatment

All effective psychological treatments for Anxiety Disorders incorporate one or more of the following: (1) cognitive exposure (mentally facing the fear), (2) behavioral exposure (physically facing the fear), (3) correcting maladaptive coping (eliminating the negative thinking and superstitious behaviors associated with the fear), and (4) reducing stressors (reducing health/economic/occupational/social stressors using a problem-solving approach).

  • Facing the Fear of Having a Panic Attack:
    • Education about the symptoms, the disorder, and the specific role of fear of bodily sensations
    • Exposure to the physical symptoms that comprise and cue panic attacks
    • Hyperventilation control
    • Overcoming distress intolerance (by mindfulness training)
    • Cognitive therapy to change maladaptive thought processes

  • Real-Life Exposure to Avoided Situations:
    This involves gradual exposure to fear-provoking situations that the person has avoided because of previous panic attacks there. Repeated exposure to these fear-provoking situations helps the person realise that the feared situation is no longer associated with having another panic attack.

Pharmalogical Treatment

The strongest evidence supports the effectiveness of tricyclic antidepressants, SSRI antidepressants and high potency benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepine (BZD) use carries with it the high risk of creating dependency. The efficacy of maintenance medication to prevent relapse has not been firmly established. Unlike psychological treatment, relapse on discontinuation of pharmalogical treatment is common.

How Do The Effective Treatments Compare?

  • The majority of patients show a positive response to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or medication
  • A positive response typically occurs within 6 weeks (response to benzodiazepines occurs considerably faster) but additional time may be required to stabilise the response
  • If there is an inadequate response after an adequate trial of a first line treatment, switch to another evidence-based treatment
  • The number needed to treat to get one person panic free is 3 for CBT and 6 for medication
  • CBT has greater durability than pharmacotherapy
  • Dropout rates for CBT are lower than for pharmacotherapy
  • Combining BZDs with CBT reduces treatment efficacy when compared to CBT alone
  • CBT has been shown to reduce relapse following discontinuation of benzodiazepines

Issues in Managing Pharmacological Treatment

  • Medications, especially benzodiazepines, should be discontinued gradually (this may be difficult because of dependence and may provoke relapse or even rebound panic)
  • When used alone, antidepressants should be continued for at least 6 months following symptom remission, and longer if full remission does not occur
  • Some clinicians advocate stopping medication only when the patient is in a stable life situation.
  • Longer use of medication may reduce the risk of relapse following discontinuation
  • For patients with repeated episodes of panic disorder, long-term use of medication use may be indicated
  • People with panic disorder often require low beginning doses and slow titration of medication


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Self-Help Resources For Panic Disorder are also helpful for Agoraphobia






Afternoon Meditation (Learn How To Have Healthy Relationships)





Life Satisfaction Scale (Video)





Healthy Social Behavior Scale (Video)





Mental Health Scale (Video)




Click Here For More Self-Help



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    "In physical science a first essential step in the direction of learning any subject is to find principles of numerical reckoning and practicable methods for measuring some quality connected with it. I often say that when you can measure what you are speaking about and express it in numbers you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind: it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely, in your thoughts, advanced to the stage of science, whatever the matter may be."

    Lord Kelvin (1824 – 1907)


  • The best summary on bad research is given by Laura Arnold in this TEDx lecture. If you read nothing else about research, you owe it to yourself to watch this short video - it is excellent!

  • Canadian researchers who commit scientific fraud are protected by privacy laws: There are criminals in every community - even in the scientific research community (especially if a lot of money is at stake). Criminal researchers can hide their fraud behind outdated privacy laws.

  • The power of asking "what if?"

  • The active placebo effect: 2300 years ago, the Greek Stoic philosophers taught that it is not the objective event, but our subjective judgment about the event, that determines our behavior. The active placebo effect bears witness to this ancient wisdom.

  • Criteria For High Quality Research Studies

  • It is troubling that a recent study found that two-thirds of important psychological research studies couldn't be replicated. High quality research must meet the following criteria:

    • Randomized Controlled Trial:
      Ask: Was the trial randomized? Was the randomization procedure described and was it appropriate? The best research design is to have research subjects randomly assigned to an experimental or control group. It is essential that confounding factors be controlled for by having a control group or comparator condition (no intervention, placebo, care as usual etc.).

    • Representative Sample:
      Ask: Do the research subjects represent a normal cross-section of the population being studied? Many psychological research studies using university students are flawed because their subjects are not representative of the normal population since they are all W.E.I.R.D. (White, Educated, Intelligent, Rich, and living in a Democracy).

    • Single Blind Trial:
      Ask: Was the treatment allocation concealed? It is essential that the research subjects are kept "blind" as to whether they are in the experimental or control group (in order to control for any placebo effects).

    • Double Blind Trial (Better Than Single Blind Trial):
      Ask: Were blind outcome assessments conducted? In a double blind study, neither the research subjects nor the outcome assessors know if the research subject is in the experimental or control group. This controls for both the placebo effect and assessor bias.

    • Baseline Comparability:
      Ask: Were groups similar at baseline on prognostic indicators? The experimental and control groups must be shown to be comparable at the beginning of the study.

    • Confounding Factors:
      Ask: Were there factors, that weren't controlled for, that could have seriously distorted the study's results? For example, research studies on the effectiveness of mindfulness cognitive therapy in preventing depressive relapse forgot to control for whether the research subjects were also simultaneously receiving antidepressant medication or other psychological treatments for depression.

    • Intervention Integrity:
      Ask: Was the research study protocal strictly followed? The research subjects must be shown to be compliant (e.g., taking their pills, attending therapy) and the therapists must be shown to be reliably delivering the intervention (e.g., staying on the research protocol).

    • Statistical analysis:
      Ask: Was a statistical power calculation described? The study should discuss its statistical power analysis; that is whether the study size is large enough to statistically detect a difference between the experimental and control group (should it occur) and usually this requires at least 50 research subjects in the study.

      Ask: Are the results both statistically significant and clinically significant? Many medical research findings are statistically significant (with a p-value <0.05), but they are not clinically significant because the difference between the experimental and control groups is too small to be clinically relevant.

      For example, the effect of a new drug may be found to be 2% better than placebo. Statistically (if the sample size was large enough) this 2% difference could be statistically significant (with a p-value <0.05). However, clinicians would say that this 2% difference is not clinically significant (i.e., that it was too small to really make any difference).

      Statistically, the best way to test for clinical significance is to test for effect size (i.e., the size of the difference between two groups rather than confounding this with statistical probability).

      When the outcome of interest is a dichotomous variable, the commonly used measures of effect size include the odds ratio (OR), the relative risk (RR), and the risk difference (RD).

      When the outcome is a continuous variable, then the effect size is commonly represented as either the mean difference (MD) or the standardised mean difference (SMD) .

      The MD is the difference in the means of the treatment group and the control group, while the SMD is the MD divided by the standard deviation (SD), derived from either or both of the groups. Depending on how this SD is calculated, the SMD has several versions such, as Cohen's d, Glass's Δ, and Hedges' g.

        Clinical Significance: With Standard Mean Difference, the general rule of thumb is that a score of 0 to 0.25 indicates small to no effect, 0.25-0.50 a mild benefit, 0.5-1 a moderate to large benefit, and above 1.0 a huge benefit. It is a convention that a SMD of 0.5 or larger is a standard threshold for clinically meaningful benefit.

      The statistical summary should report what percentage of the total variance of the dependent variable (e.g., outcome) can be explained by the independent variable (e.g., intervention).

      In clinical studies, the study should report the number needed to treat for an additional beneficial outcome (NNTB), and the number needed to treat for an additional harmful outcome (NNTH).

        Number Needed To Benefit (NNTB): This is defined as the number of patients that need to be treated for one of them to benefit compared with a control in a clinical trial. (It is defined as the inverse of the absolute risk reduction.) Note: Statistically, the NNTB depends on which control group is used for comparison - e.g., active treatment vs. placebo treatment, or active treatment vs. no treatment.

        Number Needed To Harm (NNTH): This is defined as the number of patients that need to be treated for one of them to be harmed compared with a control in a clinical trial. (It is defined as the inverse of the absolute increase in risk of harm.)

        Tomlinson found “an NNTB of 5 or less was probably associated with a meaningful health benefit,” while “an NNTB of 15 or more was quite certain to be associated with at most a small net health benefit.”

      Ask: Does the researcher accept full responsibility for the study's statistical analysis? The researcher should not just hand over the study's raw data to a corporation (that may have $1,000 million invested in the study) to do the statistical analysis.

    • Completeness of follow-up data:
      Ask: Was the number of withdrawals or dropouts in each group mentioned, and were reasons given for these withdrawals or dropouts? Less than 20% of the research subjects should drop out of the study. The intervention effect should persist over an adequate length of time.

    • Handling of missing data:
      Ask: Was the statistical analysis conducted on the intention-to-treat sample? There must be use of intention-to-treat analysis (as opposed to a completers-only analysis). In this way, all of the research subjects that started the study are included in the final statistical analysis. A completers-only analysis would disregard those research subjects that dropped out.

    • Replication of Findings:
      Ask: Can other researchers replicate this study's results? The research study's methodology should be clearly described so that the study can be easily replicated. The researcher's raw data should be available to other researchers to review (in order to detect errors or fraud).

    • Fraud:
      Ask: Is there a suspicion of fraud? In a research study, examine the independent and dependent variables that are always measured as a positive whole number (e.g., a variable measured on a 5-point Likert-type scale ranging from "1 = definitely false to 5 = definitely true" etc.). For each of these variables, look at their sample size (n), mean (M) and standard deviation (SD) before they undergo statistical analysis. There is a high suspicion of fraud in a study's statistics:

      • If the M is mathematically impossible (online calculator): This is one of the easiest ways to mathematically detect fraud. The mean (M) is defined as "the sum (Sum) of the values of each observation divided by the total number (n) of observations". So: M = Sum/n. Thus: (Sum) = (M) multiplied by (n). We know that, if a variable is always measured as a positive whole number, the sum of these observations always has to be a whole number. For these variables to test for fraud: calculate (M) multiplied by (n). This calculates the Sum which MUST be a positive whole number. If the calculated Sum isn't a positive whole number; the reported mean (M) is mathematically impossible - thus the researcher either cooked the data or made a mistake. A recent study of 260 research papers published in highly reputable psychological journals found that 1 in 2 of these research papers reported at least one impossible value, and 1 in 5 of these research papers reported multiple impossible values. When the authors of the 21 worst offending research papers were asked for their raw data (so that its reliability could be checked) - 57% angrily refused. Yet such release of raw data to other researchers is required by most scientific journals. (Here is an example of a research paper filled with mathematically impossible means.)

      • If the SD is mathematically impossible (online calculator): When researchers fraudulently "cook" their data, they may accidently give their data a mean and standard deviation that is mathematically impossible.

      • If the SD/M is very small (i.e., the variable's standard deviation is very small compared to the mean suggesting data smoothing).

      • If the SD's are almost identical (i.e., the variables have different means but almost identical standard deviations).

      • If the 4th digit of the values of the variables aren't uniformly distributed - since each should occur 10% of the time (Benford's Law).

      • If the researcher is legally prevented from publishing negative findings about a drug or therapy because that would violate the "nondisclosure of trade secrets" clause in the research contract (i.e., it is a "trade secret" that the drug or therapy is ineffective - hence this can not be "disclosed"). Approximately half of all registered clinical trials fail to publish their results.

      • If the researcher refuses to release his raw data to fellow researchers (so that they can check its validity). In order to be published in most scientific journals, a researcher must promise to share his raw data with fellow researchers. Thus a researcher's refusal to do so is almost a sure indicator of fraud.

      • If the research study's data contradicts the study's own conclusions - surprisingly, this often occurs.

  • Calling Bullshit In The Age of Big Data - "Bullshit is language, statistical figures, data graphics, and other forms of presentation intended to persuade by impressing and overwhelming a reader or listener, with a blatant disregard for truth and logical coherence." Reading the syllabus of this university course should be required reading for every student of mental health. This syllabus is absolutely fantastic!

  • Statistical Methods in Psychology Journals: Guidelines and Explanations - American Psychologist 1999

  • Not All Scientific Studies Are Created Equal - video

  • The efficacy of psychological, educational, and behavioral treatment

  • Estimating the reproducibility of psychological science

  • Psychologists grapple with validity of research

  • Industry sponsorship and research outcome (Review) - Cochrane Library

  • 'We've been deceived': Many clinical trial results are never published - (text and video)

  • Junk science misleading doctors and researchers

  • Junk science under spotlight after controversial firm buys Canadian journals

  • Medicine with a side of mysticism: Top hospitals promote unproven therapies - Are some doctors becoming modern witchdoctors?

  • When Evidence Says No, But Doctors Say Yes


  • Cochrane Collaboration - the best evidence-based, standardized reviews available

Research Topics

Agoraphobia - Latest Research (2016-2017)


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Which Behavioral Dimensions Are Involved?

Research has shown that there are 5 major dimensions (the "Big 5 Factors") of personality disorders and other mental disorders. There are two free online personality tests that assess your personality in terms of the "Big 5 dimensions of personality". Although not computerized online, the Big Five Inventory (BFI) is a 44-item test often used in personality research.

This website uses these 5 major dimensions of human behavior to describe all mental disorders. (This website adds one more dimension, "Physical Health", but our discussion will focus on the first 5 major dimensions.)

These major dimensions of human behavior seem to represent the major dimensions whereby our early evolutionary ancestors chose their hunting companions or spouse. To maximize their chance for survival, our ancestors wanted companions who were agreeable, conscientious, intelligent, sociable, emotionally stable, and physically healthy.

    Which Dimensions of Human Behavior are Impaired in Agoraphobia?

    THE POSITIVE SIDE OF THE "BIG 5" PERSONALITY DIMENSIONS THE NEGATIVE SIDE OF THE "BIG 5" PERSONALITY DIMENSIONS THIS DISORDER
    Agreeableness Antagonism       Agreeableness
    Conscientiousness Disinhibition       Conscientiousness
    Intellect Decreased Intellect       Intellect
    Sociability (Extraversion) Detachment       Detachment
    Emotional Stability Negative Emotion       Negative Emotion

The 5 Major Dimensions of Mental Illness

The Big 5 Factors or dimensions of mental illness each has a healthy side and an unhealthy side. Thus the Big 5 Factors are: (1) Agreeableness vs. Antagonism, (2) Conscientiousness vs. Disinhibition, (3) Intellect vs. Decreased Intellect, (4) Sociability (Extraversion) vs. Detachment (Introversion), and (5) Emotional Stability vs. Negative Emotion.

The Following Will Only Discuss The Dimensions of Mental Illness That Are Abnormal In This Disorder

The problems that are diagnostic of this disorder are highlighted in   Pink  . Other problems that are often seen in this disorder are highlighted in   Yellow  .



Treatment Goals for Individuals With Detachment

SOCIABILITY (EXTRAVERSION) VS. DETACHMENT
.
SOCIABILITY
.
Description: Sociability (Extraversion) is synonymous with being enthusiastic and assertive. Assertiveness encompasses traits relating to leadership, dominance, and drive. Enthusiasm encompasses both sociability and the tendency to experience and express positive emotion. Extraverts tend to engage in social interaction; they are enthusiastic, risk-taking, talkative and assertive. The Extraversion dimension measures the behaviors that are central to the concept of SOCIABILITY - seeking and enjoying companionship. High sociability is associated with better: longevity, leadership, job [sales] performance. (This dimension appears to measure the behaviors that differentiate approach from avoidance.)
Descriptors: Sociable, gregarious, reward-seeking, talkative.
Language Characteristics: Many topics, higher verbal output, think out loud, pleasure talk, agreement, compliment, positive emotion words, sympathetic, concerned about hearer (but not empathetic), simple constructions, few unfilled pauses, few negations, few tentative words, informal language, many swear words, exaggeration (e.g. "I'm really smart" ), many words related to humans (e.g. "man", "pal"). poor vocabulary.
Research: Higher scores on Sociability (extraversion) are associated with greater happiness and broader social connections. *MRI research found that Sociability (extraversion) was associated with increased volume of medial orbitofrontal cortex, a region involved in processing reward information.
"I'm talkative"
"I'm not reserved."
"I'm full of energy."
"I generate a lot of enthusiasm."
"I'm not quiet."
"I have an assertive personality."
"I'm not shy or inhibited."
"I am outgoing and sociable."
"I make friends easily."
"I warm up quickly to others."
"I show my feelings when I'm happy."
"I have a lot of fun."
"I laugh a lot."
"I take charge."
"I have a strong personality."
"I know how to captivate people."
"I see myself as a good leader."
"I can talk others into doing things."
"I am the first to act."
.
Attention Seeking
.
"I like to draw attention to myself."
"I crave attention."
"I do things to make sure people notice me."
"I do things so that people just have to admire me."
"My behavior is often bold and grabs peoples' attention."
.
DETACHMENT
.
Description: Detachment is synonymous with being reserved and quiet.
Descriptors: Withdrawn, anhedonic (pleasureless), intimacy avoiding, detached, shy, passive, solitary, moody
Language Characteristics: Single topic, doesn't think out loud, problem talk, dissatisfaction, negative emotion words, not sympathetic, elaborated sentence constructions, many unfilled pauses, formal language, many negations, many tentative words (e.g. maybe, guess), few swear words, little exaggeration, few words related to humans, rich vocabulary.
.
* Social Withdrawal:
"I don’t like to get too close to people."
"I don't deal with people unless I have to."
"I'm not interested in making friends."
"I don’t like spending time with others."
"I say as little as possible when dealing with people."
"I keep to myself."
"I am hard to get to know."
"I reveal little about myself."
"I do not have an assertive personality."
"I lack the talent for influencing people."
"I wait for others to lead the way."
"I hold back my opinions."
.
* Intimacy Avoidance:
"I steer clear of romantic relationships."
"I prefer to keep romance out of my life."
"I prefer being alone to having a close romantic partner."
"I'm just not very interested in having sexual relationships."
"II break off relationships if they start to get close."
.
* Loss of Interest or Pleasure:
"I often feel like nothing I do really matters."
"I almost never enjoy life."
"Nothing seems to make me feel good."
"Nothing seems to interest me very much."
"I almost never feel happy about my day-to-day activities."
"I rarely get enthusiastic about anything."
"I don't get as much pleasure out of things as others seem to."
.
* Restricted Emotions:
"I don't show emotions strongly."
"I don't get emotional."
"I never show emotions to others."
"I don't have very long-lasting emotional reactions to things."
"People tell me it's difficult to know what I'm feeling."
"I am not a very enthusiastic person."
.
("Sociability vs. Detachment" modified from "PID-5" by Kreuger RF, Derringer J, Markon KE, Watson D, Skodol AE and Between facets and domains: 10 aspects of the Big Five)
*MRI Research: Testing predictions from personality neuroscience. Brain structure and the big five.



Treatment Goals for Individuals With Negative Emotion

EMOTIONAL STABILITY VS. NEGATIVE EMOTION
.
EMOTIONAL STABILITY
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Description: Emotional Stability is synonymous with being calm and emotionally stable. The Emotional Stability dimension measures the behaviors that are central to the concept of COURAGE - having calm composure and endurance when confronting adversity. High emotional stability is associated with better: longevity, leadership, job [team] performance, and marital success. (This dimension appears to measure the behaviors that differentiate safety from danger.)
Descriptors: Calm, even-tempered, peaceful, confident
Language Characteristics: Pleasure talk, agreement, compliment, low verbal productivity, few repetitions, neutral content, calm, few self-references, many short silent pauses, few long silent pauses, many tentative words, few aquiescence, little exaggeration, less frustration, low concreteness.
"I am relaxed, and I handle stress well."
"I am emotionally stable, and not easily upset."
"I remain calm in tense situations."
"I rarely get irritated."
"I keep my emotions under control."
"I rarely lose my composure."
"I am not easily annoyed."
"I seldom feel blue."
"I feel comfortable with myself."
"I rarely feel depressed."
"I am not embarrassed easily."
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NEGATIVE EMOTION
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Description: Degree to which people experience persistent anxiety or depression and are easily upset. (This could be thought of as high threat sensitivity or low stress tolerance.)
Descriptors: Emotionally unstable, anxious, separation-insecure, depressed, self-conscious, oversensitive, vulnerable.
Language Characteristics: Problem talk, dissatisfaction, high verbal productivity, many repetitions, polarised content, stressed, many self-references, few short silent pauses, many long silent pauses, few tentative words, more aquiescence, many self references, exaggeration, frustration, high concreteness.
Research: Lower scores on Emotional Stability are associated with unhappiness, dysfunctional relationships, and mental health problems. *MRI research found that Low Emotional Stability (= Negative Emotion or Neuroticism) was associated with increased volume of brain regions associated with threat, punishment, and negative emotions.
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* Emotional Instability:
"I get emotional easily, often for very little reason."
"I get emotional over every little thing."
"My emotions are unpredictable."
"I never know where my emotions will go from moment to moment."
"I am a highly emotional person."
"I have much stronger emotional reactions than almost everyone else."
"My emotions sometimes change for no good reason."
"I get angry easily."
"I get upset easily."
"I change my mood a lot."
"I am a person whose moods go up and down easily."
"I get easily agitated."
"I can be stirred up easily."
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* Anxiety:
"I worry about almost everything."
"I'm always fearful or on edge about bad things that might happen."
"I always expect the worst to happen."
"I am a very anxious person."
"I get very nervous when I think about the future."
"I often worry that something bad will happen due to mistakes I made in the past."
"I am filled with doubts about things."
"I feel threatened easily."
"I am afraid of many things."
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* Separation Insecurity:
"I fear being alone in life more than anything else."
"I can't stand being left alone, even for a few hours."
"I’d rather be in a bad relationship than be alone."
"I'll do just about anything to keep someone from abandoning me."
"I dread being without someone to love me."
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* Submissiveness:
"I usually do what others think I should do."
"I do what other people tell me to do."
"I change what I do depending on what others want."
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* Perseveration:
"I get stuck on one way of doing things, even when it's clear it won't work."
"I get stuck on things a lot."
"It is hard for me to shift from one activity to another."
"I get fixated on certain things and can’t stop."
"I feel compelled to go on with things even when it makes little sense to do so."
"I keep approaching things the same way, even when it isn’t working."
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* Depressed Mood:
"I have no worth as a person."
"Everything seems pointless to me."
"I often feel like a failure."
"The world would be better off if I were dead."
"The future looks really hopeless to me."
"I often feel just miserable."
"I'm very dissatisfied with myself."
"I often feel like nothing I do really matters."
"I know I'll commit suicide sooner or later."
"I talk about suicide a lot."
"I feel guilty much of the time."
"I'm so ashamed by how I've let people down in lots of little ways."
"I am easily discouraged."
"I become overwhelmed by events."
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("Emotional Stability vs. Negative Emotion" modified from "PID-5" by Kreuger RF, Derringer J, Markon KE, Watson D, Skodol AE and Between facets and domains: 10 aspects of the Big Five)
*MRI Research: Testing predictions from personality neuroscience. Brain structure and the big five.


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Internet Mental Health © 1995-2018 Phillip W. Long, M.D.