Emptiness in agoraphobia patients.

J Am Psychoanal Assoc. 2007 Summer;55(3):1007-26; discussion 1027-32. Related Articles
Emptiness in agoraphobia patients.

Milrod B.

Weill Cornell College of Medicine, USA. bmilrod@mail.med.cornell.edu

In light of new research findings about the efficacy of psychodynamic treatment for panic disorder and agoraphobia, it seems a prudent time to carefully address psychoanalytic thinking about the treatment of agoraphobia. The literature has highlighted oedipal contributions to its genesis and clinical unraveling in psychoanalysis. While those contributions are indeed central to the disorder, structural deficits in the self-representation often become a central focus of treatment once symptomatic remission has been achieved in psychoanalytic treatment. This aspect of the clinical presentation of agoraphobia has not yet been specifically addressed in the psychiatric literature. Some aspects of the phenomenon have been described by psychoanalysts. It is more difficult to treat this “emptiness” than the overt symptoms of agoraphobia, as described in DSM-IV. Nonetheless, this phenomenon may be one of the contributors to the chronicity of the disorder. Two clinical cases illustrate these points.

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PMID: 17915656 [PubMed – in process]