Agoraphobia is a fear of being in situations where escape might be difficult, or help wouldn't be available if things go wrong.
Many people assume that agoraphobia is simply a fear of open spaces but it's more complex than this. A person with agoraphobia may be scared of:
- travelling on public transport
- visiting a shopping centre
- leaving home
If someone with agoraphobia finds themselves in a stressful situation they'll usually experience symptoms of a panic attack such as:
- rapid heartbeat
- rapid breathing (hyperventilating)
- feeling hot and sweaty
- feeling sick
They will avoid situations that cause anxiety and may only leave the house with a friend or partner. They will order groceries online rather than go to the supermarket. This change in behaviour is known as "avoidance".
- Summary:Agoraphobia is a fear of being in situations where escape might be difficult, or help wouldn't be available if things go wrong.
- Link to condition on NHS Choices: