phobic disorder involving the specific anxiety about being in a place or situation where escape is difficult or embarrassing or where help may be unavailable

Agoraphobia is a medical condition that causes anxiety. Sufferers are afraid of large open spaces, crowds, and new places. These places make them feel unsafe and increase their feelings of anxiety and panic. They may be afraid they might lose control and embarrass themselves. They worry that they may not be able to get away, or find help if they have a panic attack. The word agoraphobia means "fear of the market place". People with agoraphobia often believe that their home is the only safe place. Extreme sufferers may be unable to leave their homes for months or in some cases years.[1]

Crowd at a festival
Large empty open space in Lisbon

Agoraphobia is sometimes treated successfully with medication and cognitive behavioral therapy, but some people never recover.



People with agoraphobia may show these signs and symptoms:[1]

  • Anxiety in "unsafe" places
  • Being short of breath
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Nausea
  • Feelings of extreme fear
  • Feeling anxious if they know they will have to leave their safe place (such as their home)
  • Low self-esteem
  • Loss of self-confidence
  • Do not want to visit new places
  • Depression

Causes of Agoraphobia

  • Although the precise causes of agoraphobia are unknown, there are some risk factors that could raise your risk of getting this disorder. They consist of:
  1. Having a different anxiety disorder, such as social anxiety or generalized anxiety disorder.
  2. One more phobia.
  3. A history of agoraphobia in the family.
  4. Maltreatment or trauma in the past.
  5. Cognitive chemistry.
  6. Depression or low self-esteem.
  • Moreover, learned associations may contribute to the emergence of agoraphobia.
  • The concern that a panic attack may happen again in the future can develop after having one in a particular circumstance or place.
  • In some circumstances, agoraphobia can be exacerbated by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Following a traumatic experience, PTSD can develop and cause feelings of anxiety and hypervigilance, which can trigger the development of agoraphobia.
  • The risk of acquiring agoraphobia may be increased by prolonged solitude.
  • For instance, the terror brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic paired with the isolation brought on by social exclusion and quarantines has made many Americans more anxious.
  • According to mental health professionals, the effects of these incidents could continue for years and affect both grown-up and children's well-being.


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Agoraphobia | Better Health Channel". 2011. Archived from the original on 31 March 2011. Retrieved 11 April 2011.