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Agoraphobia: signs, causes, diagnosis, prognosis, and prevention

Agoraphobia is a kind of anxiety disorder, according to the Mayo Clinic. Picture: Pexels

Agoraphobia is a kind of anxiety disorder, according to the Mayo Clinic. Picture: Pexels

Published Jan 17, 2023


Agoraphobia is a kind of anxiety disorder, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Agoraphobia is the dread of and avoidance of locations or circumstances that might result in panic attacks and feelings of helplessness, embarrassment, or being imprisoned.

You can be afraid of a current or potential circumstance. You can be afraid of taking public transit, being in confined or open places, waiting in line, or being among a lot of people.

Agoraphobia frequently causes sufferers to struggle with feeling secure in any public setting, particularly in crowded areas and strange places.

You might think you need a buddy or family member to accompany you when you go out in public. It's possible for the terror to seem so crippling that you feel unable to leave your house.

As you must face your concerns, the treatment might be difficult. However, with the right care, including medications and a type of therapy known as cognitive behavioural therapy, you may overcome agoraphobia and lead a more fulfilling life.

A medical evaluation by the Mayo Clinic claims that some patients may suffer panic disorder in addition to agoraphobia.

A kind of anxiety condition known as panic disorder involves panic episodes. A panic attack is a rapid, acute sense of terror that quickly peaks and causes a number of severe physical symptoms.

You may believe that you are utterly out of control, experiencing a heart attack, or perhaps about to pass away.

In an effort to avoid having another panic attack, those who are afraid of them may steer clear of familiar surroundings or the location where they occurred.

A research study that appeared in “MedlinePlus” claims that among the signs of a panic attack are:

* A quick heartbeat.

* Breathing issues or a choking sensation.

* Pressure or discomfort in the chest.

* Feeling faint or unsteady.

* Having trembling, numbness, or tingling.

* Excessive perspiration.

* Chills or sudden flushing.

* A stomach ache or diarrhoea.

* Having a sense of helplessness.

* Aversion to death.

Agoraphobia can significantly affect your ability to interact with others, work, attend significant events, and even do day-to-day tasks like running errands.

Avoid letting agoraphobia reduce the size of your universe. If you have agoraphobia or panic episodes, contact your doctor or a mental health expert.


Biology, which includes heredity and health issues, as well as personality, stress, and learning experiences, may all be factors in the emergence of agoraphobia.


Although it can start in childhood, agoraphobia generally manifests in late adolescence or the beginning of adulthood, usually before the age of 35.

However, it can also appear in elderly individuals. Agoraphobia is more frequently diagnosed in women than in men.

One of the risk factors for agoraphobia is having a phobia or panic disorder, both of which are extreme fear reactions. This includes:

* Overreacting in fear and avoidance to panic episodes.

* Going through difficult life experiences including abuse, losing a parent, or being attacked.

* Possessing a worried or anxious personality

* Having an agoraphobic blood relative.


Agoraphobia can significantly restrict your life's activities, according to research. A severe case of agoraphobia can prevent you from ever leaving your house.

Some people stay housebound for years if they don't receive therapy. You might not be able to chat with family and friends, attend school or work, do errands, or engage in other common everyday activities if this occurs to you. You could start relying on others for support.

Depression is another outcome of agoraphobia. So is abuse of alcohol or drugs, and suicidal ideas and actions.


There isn't a certain technique to stop agoraphobia. But as you ignore your fears more and more, anxiety tends to grow.

Try to repeatedly practise going to safe areas if you start to feel a little nervous about doing so. This might make you feel more at ease in certain settings.

Ask a family member or friend to accompany you if it's too difficult to do it alone, or seek out professional assistance.

Seek help as soon as you can if you suffer panic episodes or travel anxiety.

To prevent symptoms from worsening, seek care as soon as possible. Waiting to get treatment for anxiety, like many other mental health issues, might make it more difficult.