Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Agoraphobia

2-minute read

What is agoraphobia?

Agoraphobia is often thought to mean that people are afraid of 'open spaces', but this is only half the story. Many people with panic disorder avoid situations because of their fears. This avoidance is known as agoraphobia.

Signs and symptoms of agoraphobia

Agoraphobia is linked to panic disorder and also belongs to a group of conditions called specific phobias.

People with specific phobias might also practise avoidance in less noticeable ways like avoiding exercise or sex. Panic and related phobias like agoraphobia can seriously impede an individual's ability to go to work or socialise with friends and family.

Signs of agoraphobia include:

  • avoiding situations because of concern you’ll have a panic attack, or only going with someone who you think can help you if you do have a panic attack
  • experiencing anxiety or fear about being in places where escape might be difficult, such as public transport or in large crowds at a concert
  • feeling anxious or panic when you can’t avoid certain situations.

More information

Not sure what to do next?

If you or someone you know are finding it difficult to manage mental health issues, try healthdirect’s symptom checker and get advice on when to seek professional help.

The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: July 2017

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Agoraphobia - Better Health Channel

A person with agoraphobia is afraid to leave familiar environments, because they are afraid of having a panic attack.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Agoraphobia | Understanding Anxiety

Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder that occurs when people have a fear of having a Panic Attack and start to avoid situations where they think they might have a Panic Attack.

Read more on WayAhead Mental Health Association NSW website

What is agoraphobia? | Anxiety | ReachOut Australia

Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder characterised by a fear of having a panic attack in a situation that is difficult to escape from or where help may not be available.

Read more on ReachOut.com website

Department of Health | What is panic disorder and agoraphobia?

Panic disorder and agoraphobia: Australian treatment guide for consumers and carers, 2005 What is panic disorder and agoraphobia? Page last updated: June 2005 Panic disorderPanic disorder 1 is very different to everyday anxiety

Read more on Department of Health website

Case study - panic and agoraphobia | At Ease

Sue conquered her agoraphobia one step at a time, starting with a visit to her GP.

Read more on Department of Veterans' Affairs website

How To Deal with Panic Attacks and Agoraphobia | THIS WAY UP

Feeling overwhelmed by panic? You may be dealing with panic attacks, panic disorder, or agoraphobia. Learn more about these conditions.

Read more on This Way Up website

Online Course and App for Panic Disorder (Agoraphobia) | THIS WAY UP

This Cognitive Behavioural Therapy course from This Way Up will help you learn to combat panic attacks, panic disorder, and agoraphobia.

Read more on This Way Up website

Panic with/without agoraphobia | At Ease

Panic attacks occur when our fight-or-flight response is triggered without an obvious external threat. Learning how to relax and control your breathing can help you manage panic attacks.

Read more on Department of Veterans' Affairs website

Panic disorder | HealthEngine Blog

Panic disorder is a psychological anxiety disorder characterised by acute anxiety to triggers, and often agoraphobia, the fear of being alone outdoors.

Read more on HealthEngine website

Panic disorder - myDr.com.au

Those affected by panic disorder can experience feelings of panic out of the blue and for no apparent reason.

Read more on myDr website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo