What is Agoraphobia?


Agorophobia is a psychological disorder in which a person feels intense fear or anxiety triggered by actual or anticipated exposure to a wide range of situations. Individuals with agoraphobia avoid places or situations that might cause them to panic and make them feel trapped, helpless or embarrassed. Some individuals with agoraphobia also have panic disorder, and begin to fear or avoid places where they have had panic attacks or where they are apprehensive that a panic attack will take place.


Common places that become feared and avoided by those with agoraphobia include malls, supermarkets, bridges, public transportation, and other crowded areas where escape is difficult. The avoidance can become so severe that the person is completely homebound. Often, an individual with agoraphobia is better able to confront a feared situation when accompanied by a companion, such as a friend or mental health professional.