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Agoraphobia is the extreme or irrational fear of crowded places or enclosed public places. At least, that’s what one dictionary told me. Another dictionary told me that it’s the fear of open spaces.

There’s a big difference between those two dictionary definitions. Maybe I should consult a psychiatrist. A lot of people have told me that, but that’s something else entirely. Beneficial though it might be, it’s not going to happen today.

Is it just me or is the use of both “extreme” and “irrational” in the first dictionary’s definition redundant? I can understand being nervous about crowded places or enclosed public places. I’m a worrier by nature and I experience angst over most things. Plus, in addition to being nervous about them, I, in general, dislike being in amongst large crowds.

Nevertheless, I can’t think of any rational reason to be extremely afraid of either of these circumstances. If I’m right about there being no rational reason, then extreme fear of crowded places and enclosed open spaces is always irrational, although an irrational fear is not necessarily an extreme one. Thus, the definition could have left out the word “extreme” without losing anything.

Be that as it may, I brought it up only because I couldn’t think of anything else to say about the word agoraphobia and I needed to fill up this space.

If you are agoraphobic you have my sympathies. I hope you’re able to deal with it and live your life at least somewhat happily. Finding someone who can cure you of it would also be a wonderful thing. Good luck.

Then there’s the second dictionary’s definition of agoraphobia, i.e. a fear of open spaces. How can someone be treated for that? Wouldn’t the patient be afraid to leave his or her home to get treated? For the sake of these agoraphobics, I hope psychiatrists and psychologists make house calls.

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