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December 1970

Agoraphobic Syndrome (Phobic Anxiety State)

Author Affiliations

From the Institute of Psychiatry, Maudsley Hospital, London, SE 5.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1970;23(6):538-553. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1970.01750060058006

THE AGORAPHOBIC syndrome was first described one century ago, and many reports since then have dealt with one or another facet of the disorder. No comprehensive review has, however, integrated existing literature. This report has synthesized the available literature from the descriptive standpoint. Etiology and treatment will only be alluded to briefly, and have been reviewed in detail elsewhere in the book Fears and Phobias.1

Phobic disorders in general have been classified as a separate category in the American Psychiatric Association (APA) classification since 1952, and in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) classification since 1947. These disorders include a variety of overlapping subgroups, which range from very specific fears of a single object not associated with any other symp tom to multiple phobias which are accompanied by many other psychiatric symptoms. The agoraphobic syndrome is the commonest and most distressing phobic disorder met with in adult patients. The

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