Carol E. Watkins, M.D.

Agoraphobia is the fear of going

out into public places. It can occur with or without panic attacks.

Mary’s* problems started one

day when she was pumping gas. Some rough young men came over and made rude

remarks. She was frightened and began avoiding gas stations. The fear

increased, and she became unable to do the grocery shopping without her

husband. She spent much of her day worrying about anticipated trips out of the

house. Within two years, she was housebound. Her husband consulted a

psychiatrist who gave him advice on how to persuade Mary to come in for a

consultation. The psychiatrist saw them together, educated them about

agoraphobia, and prescribed medication. At Mary’s next session, she was calm

enough to begin the therapeutic work of enlarging her “perimeter of

safety.” Her husband attended all of the sessions. Between sessions, he

helped her with her homework. He would accompany her as she gradually went

further from home. When she began to go places on her own, he was coach and

cheerleader. She was eventually able to deal with her fears on her own. Mary

elected to remain on her medications for a year after her symptoms had gone


In milder forms, agoraphobia may

cause an individual to avoid certain situations and jobs. However, in some

cases, the fear increases until the individual becomes depressed and housebound.

Occasionally one may be too fearful to come in for treatment. This may be a

reason for resurrecting the old concept of the physician’s house call.

Individuals with severe

agoraphobia should usually start both medication and therapy as soon as

possible. Without the medication, such an individual might not be able to make

full use of the therapeutic process. People with mild to moderate symptoms might

chose a combination approach or therapy alone. Homework between situations, and

coaching from family members or therapists help one gradually face the feared


Carol E. Watkins, MD

*vignettes are fictional


Return to our Anxiety Home Page

Northern County Psychiatric


Our practice has experience in the treatment of Attention

Deficit disorder

(ADD or ADHD), Depression, Separation Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive

Disorder, and other

psychiatric conditions. We are located in Northern Baltimore County and serve the

Baltimore County, Carroll County and Harford County areas in Maryland. Since we are near

the Pennsylvania border, we also serve the York County area.   Our

services include psychotherapy, psychiatric evaluations, medication management, and

family therapy. We treat children, adults, and the elderly.

We also maintain a list of informative web sites on mental health

topics, such as Attention Deficit Disorder, Parenting and Support Groups. We have links of

interest to the general public and links of interest to primary care physicians and other professionals.


Carol Watkins, MD

Glenn Brynes, Ph.D., M.D.

Northern County Psychiatric Associates
Niacin Pills to Pass a Drug Test

Lutherville and Monkton

Baltimore County, Maryland

Phone: 410-329-2028

Web Site

Copyright 2004

Copyright © 2006  Northern County

Psychiatric Associates
Last modified:

October 04, 2007