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What is agoraphobia?

Agoraphobia is when people have a fear of or worry about having a panic attack in a place that they can’t escape from, like public transport, crowds or queues. It can include a fear of being in open spaces, enclosed spaces, or anywhere where help would not be available if they had a panic attack. People with agoraphobia will try to avoid these situations.

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 sexual relations. 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 panicking when you can’t avoid certain situations

More information

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Last reviewed: July 2019

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