Based on the analysis of a case study of a woman suffering from agoraphobia (AG), it was concluded that the disorder could be a disorder of communication characterized by extreme reluctance to express negative feelings, or acting in ways that go counter to the wishes of others. Admittedly, that statement resonates with Freud’s description of the condition as providing a secondary gain to the sufferer by giving them control over the others through their subjective disability.

Indeed, according to that view, the sufferer may have embraced this maladaptive tactic to allow themselves to express their wants and needs despite opposition. Such a behavior was referred to as the “paradox of panic” since panic stricken individuals exert power over the others at the same time as they portray themselves as powerless.

When recalling a panic attack, psychological and physical spaces become fused in the mind of the sufferer. They  come to believe that they can keep psychological pain at bay by containing it within physical boundaries, which eventually potentiates avoidance behavior.


Capps, L., & Ochs, E. (1995). Out of place: Narrative insights into agoraphobia. Discourse processes (19), 3, 407-439.


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