Published on 21 September 2021

Agoraphobia: Symptoms And Treatment

General Psychology agoraphobia
Table of Contents

Through the years, fear is a word that we've used to describe so many different situations and yet never lose its contexts like fear of threat, fear of failure, fear of humiliation, fear of challenge, fear of change, and fear of the future.

Extreme fear of open or crowded places or avoidance of situations or places inducing feelings of panic, entrapment, and helplessness is a sign of Agoraphobia.
Most people live in such a situation, so there must be a better way to overcome this phobia. Know it further about Agoraphobia. It might even help you if you are one of the people facing any issues as such.

What Is Agoraphobia?

Agoraphobia is a condition that can lead to Anxiety and panic attacks. If you suffer from agoraphobic fear, it is essential not only for your mental health but also for Safety reasons as well - if one of these situations causes an attack in them, they may hurt themselves out of sheer distress.

The fear of being in any situation where you might be trapped or could only escape with an embarrassing howler is Agoraphobia. You are afraid of your anxiety being the center of attraction to get laughs and turn into a full-blown panic attack. Agoraphobia is a rare type of Anxiety disorder that can make it difficult for you to live. 

There are a lot of situations where you might suffer from worry, or you can get panicked when you are in:

  • Public transportation (trains, buses, planes, and ships)
  • Large open spaces (bridges and parking lots)
  • Closed-in spaces (movie theaters and stores)
  • Standing in line or crowds
  • Being outside your home alone

You get worried just thinking of visiting that place.

Who Is Affected By Agoraphobia?

Agoraphobia can affect people of any age group. It commonly affects teenagers like 21 years old. In some cases, it may also affect children and older people.

Women have Agoraphobia, more than men; twice as many women are diagnosed with the symptoms of Agoraphobia. In a year, 2% of women and 1% of men are affected by Agoraphobia.

How and why Agoraphobia occurs remains unclear. It is believed that a part of the brain controls our reaction to the situation. Genetics is another cause of Agoraphobia. If a parent has Agoraphobia, then a child may have a high chance of occurring Agoraphobia. In some cases, Agoraphobia occurs in a person who as a panic attack in the past.   

Frequently asked questions

Yes, It may be counted as a mental disability. It would be best to contact your doctor for a cure before it gets severe.
With proper medication and regular therapy, it can help you to cure Agoraphobia if it detects early.
The person who is suffering from Agoraphobia might look low in confidence as the condition would make the person lives within the self.

Types Of Agoraphobia

Crowd fear is one of the well-known types of Agoraphobia. Most people won't like crowded places. A person who has Agoraphobia may get Anxiety problems from being in crowded areas. They get afraid and try to escape from the crowd in a panic. 

Panic disorder and Agoraphobia are closely similar. Many people who have Agoraphobia also face a panic disorder too. There is a case where a person has Agoraphobia without a history of panic disorder.

When this happens, the person may still fear being pushed into a situation where coming out of it could be difficult or embarrassing. However, they have significantly less chance of having full-blown panic attacks.

The different Types of Agoraphobia include:

  • Claustrophobia,
  • Catatonic agoraphobia,
  • Enochlophobia,
  • Disorganized Agoraphobia,
  • Paranoid Agoraphobia.

Agoraphobia Causes 

Disturbing childhood memories. Such as the loss of parents or being sexually abused. Facing a stressful movement like divorce, failing exams, or losing a job. A history of mental illness, such as bulimia, depression, alcohol addiction, and drug misuse.

Even a doctor can't get a clear vision of what causes Agoraphobia. You may have it because of your disturbing childhood memories or a chronic panic attack that may last a few minutes. These happen when there's no actual problem.

A few other things which can cause Agoraphobia are Panic disorder (if it's not treated), Other phobias, A family member who has Agoraphobia, or a history of very stressful or disturbing events.

Complications Of Agoraphobia

Untreated Agoraphobia can affect your life. You won't come out of it, which can severely reduce a person's quality of life.

  • Activity outside the house, such as work, socializing, fun, and other activities, may be out of reach.
  • They may feel frustrated with themself.
  • They may feel low on confidence.
  • The person tries to avoid Agoraphobia by using an unhealthy method (such as consumption of alcohol, smoking, comfort eating, etc., which may affect their health.
  • The Negative feelings damage their self-esteem and push them towards depression and anxiety.

Agoraphobia Symptoms

If you have Agoraphobia and end up in a place that scares you, you might get panic attacks or become anxious. If you see these physical symptoms, then you may have Agoraphobia.

  • Sweating, shaking, and trembling
  • Feeling hot and cold
  • Nausea or diarrhea
  • Chest pain
  • Fast, pounding heart
  • Dizziness or feeling faint
  • Problem swallowing
  • Breathing

It may affect your nerves may feel like:

  • You're not in control
  • You might not survive a panic attack
  • It would be best if you were with someone you trust when you go anywhere
  • You'll look bad in front of others

Agoraphobia Diagnosis

Many agoraphobia symptoms resemble other medical problems like heart disease, breathing, and stomach issues. You may visit the doctor regularly to find out the actual situation.

Your doctor may ask these questions:

  • Do you find it scary or stressful to leave your house?
  • Do you have to avoid some situations or places?
  • What happens if you end up in one of them?

They may conduct a physical exam to discover the medical problems if they don't find a physical reason for your symptoms. They may recommend you visit a psychiatrist or therapist.

In the section with the psychiatrist or therapist. You'll answer questions about your problem, feeling, and behavior according to the standard (APA) American Psychiatric Association created. 

You could be diagnosed with Agoraphobia if you feel fear or panic in at least two of these situations:

  • Outside your home by yourself
  • In an enclosed space, like a theatre or small office
  • In a line or a crowded areas
  • On public transportation, including planes
  • In an open space, like a mall or parking lot

Agoraphobia Treatments

Doctors treat Agoraphobia with medication and therapy or the combination of two:


It is the best way to help you feel calm and safe in dangerous situations. Cognitive therapy helps teach new ways of thinking about or facing a crisis. Sometimes our therapists suggest exposure therapy-in this type of treatment, we gradually start doing things that make us anxious, like going out into the public by ourselves without protection from others who could hurt us.


There are many drugs that your doctor might suggest for Agoraphobia. Still, the most common ones to help balance serotonin and ease social anxiety are antidepressants:

Doctors often start with a low dose of one; these medicines raise brain serotonin levels. You might need to take medication for a while. If you feel better and no longer get stressed in places that used to make your heart pound, the doctor could begin tapering off the medication.

For a short time, your doctor may recommend anti-anxiety medications in addition to antidepressant medication. These are sedatives that can help with symptoms. Still, it would be best if you didn't depend on them because of the possible side effects and risk for addiction, including alcohol or drug abuse.

Self-help Method To Manage Agoraphobia

The key to curing Agoraphobia is controlling anxiety symptoms and progressively going to the place and situation that makes you fear. Yes, it is hard to fight against fear, but you must have a positive and fearless approach to the battle against Agoraphobia.

Alternative therapies- Applied relaxation is a series of exercises that help you notice when your muscles start tensing up and learn how to ease the tension for yourself; You need to find an activity that allows you to relax.

You must understand your mind and body strength. To overcome Agoraphobia, usually take an hour-long session each week or more. Over 12-15 weeks is needed until it becomes a practice.

For much relief, you must practice meditation and breathing exercises that can be good alternative therapy Because breathing too fast can worsen the Anxiety level. It can be challenging to say no when friends offer you coffee or alcohol, but we must exercise regularly to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Caffeine is one of the most common triggers for head lice outbreaks in children, so don't drink caffeinated beverages if your scalp hurts. 

Key Points To Know About Agoraphobia

The proper combination of medication and therapy could be very beneficial for a condition like Agoraphobia making your life easier. Here are a few things to keep in your mind.

  • Get help when you need it: if you are suffering from such trouble, family and friends are always there to help you work through those scary situations. A support group could let you connect with people going through the same problems which you are suffering from.
  • Manage anxiety and stress: consult your therapist about calming yourself in such situations and find some relaxation techniques that could work efficiently for you.
  • Follow your doctor's guidance: If you're taking medication as directed and keeping up with therapy appointments, I hope the doctor's team can do their best for you.

Bottom Line From Practical Anxiety Solution

I hope you find this article informative enough to understand Agoraphobia very clearly. Agoraphobia is just a fear that can be easily cured if it detects early with the following steps above. 

The fear is natural; thus, as explained above, it can be treated with medication and therapy. You need to control your feelings and take proper guidance that will benefit you with your issues. Remember this "Cutting off fear is easy than staying with fear."