Agoraphobia is fear or anxiety about being in situations or places with no way to escape easily or in which help might not be available if intense anxiety develops.
These situations or places are often avoided or endured with much distress.
Agoraphobia is a type of anxiety disorder.
About 30 to 50% of individuals with agoraphobia also have panic disorder.
About 2% of women and 1% of men have agoraphobia during any 12-month period.
Most people with agoraphobia develop it by the age of 35.
Common examples of situations or places that create fear and anxiety include:
- Standing in line at a bank or at a supermarket checkout;
- Sitting in the middle of a long row in a theatre or classroom; and
- Using public transportation, such as a bus or an airplane.
Some individuals develop agoraphobia after experiencing a panic attack in one of these situations.
Others simply feel uncomfortable in these settings and may never, or only later, have panic attacks there.
Agoraphobia often interferes with daily living, sometimes so drastically that it makes the individual housebound.