What is Agoraphobia? Treatment and Causes

Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder defined as the fear and avoidance of situations and environments in which a person will panic and feel helpless or embarrassed. The person may be reluctant to avoid existing or possible public transport. Also, indoor or outdoor space, waiting in line, or being in a crowd. 

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People with agoraphobia do not feel comfortable in public places, especially in crowded situations. You may feel that you need to have someone close to you when you go to public places. Even when agoraphobia is very intense, you may find it difficult to leave the house.

What is the main reason of agoraphobia?

Many people are exposed to agoraphobia because they are afraid of situations and places that cause a panic attack several times and are worried about their recurrence.

What Are the Symptoms of Agoraphobia?

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  • Not leaving home alone.
  • Escaping from the crowds and waiting in line.
  • Also avoiding indoor areas, such as a movie theater, elevator or a small shops.
  • Parking, bridges or shopping centers.
  • Public transportation such as buses, planes or trains.

The reason that such environments or situations cause anxiety in these people is the fear that if they get into it, they will not get out again, if they panic they fear that they will not get help.


Your fear or anxiety is disproportionately greater than the danger of these situations.

In general, you can avoid these situations, you may need a companion or you can endure in a distraught and stressful way.

You may experience significant difficulties and problems in your life due to fear, anxiety, or avoidance.

This phobia and your avoidance usually lasts for six months or more.

Some of agoraphobia symptoms are:

  • Being afraid of leaving their home for extended periods of time,
  • Being afraid of being alone in the social situation,
  • Feeling detached or estranged from others,
  • Fearing of losing control in a public place,
  • Fearing of being in places where it would be difficult to escape, such as a car or elevator.

Agoraphobia often causes panic attacks. Panic attacks are a series of symptoms that sometimes occur in people with anxiety and other mental health disorders. Panic attacks can include a wide range of severe physical symptoms, such as:

  • Shortness of breath or tightness in your throat,
  • Heart palpitations,
  • Chest pain or unexplained discomfort in the chest,
  • A feeling of unreality or detachment,
  • Nausea,
  • Dizziness,
  • Numbness or tingling sensation,
  • Fear of loss of control or death,
  • Hot flashes.

Agoraphobia can also lead to or be associated with:

  • Depression
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Other mental health disorders as well as other anxiety disorders or personality disorders


After a detailed interview with your doctor or psychologist a physical examination to eliminate the possibility of other diseases that may cause the same symptoms.

In light of the Manual of Diagnosis and Statistical Data of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) by the American Psychiatric Association, agoraphobia was diagnosed after a series of steps.

Agoraphobia Treatment

Agoraphobia treatment is usually performed with drug-assisted psychotherapy. Treatment may take time, but treatment can help you be better.

Psychotherapy in Agoraphobia Treatment

Psychotherapy involves setting specific goals with the help of a psychiatrist and learning some practical skills to reduce your anxiety symptoms. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is one of the most effective psychotherapy methods against anxiety disorders.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy, usually a short-term treatment, focuses on gaining skills that will help you overcome your anxiety, challenge your worries (confront your fears), and allow you to return to activities you have avoided due to anxiety. During this process, successive steps taken successively and built on top of one another will improve symptoms.

In the meantime;

Which factors trigger panic attacks or similar symptoms, and what makes them worse?

How to Deal with Anxiety Symptoms

In situations that cause anxiety, when you begin to cope with the symptoms, your anxiety also decreases gradually.

You can learn how to change some of your unwanted and unhealthy behavior through exposure therapy. Also called desensitization, so that you can calmly face situations and situations that cause fear and anxiety.

If you find it difficult to leave the house, or even, you may wonder how you can go to a therapist. Therapists dealing with agoraphobia are well aware of this situation.

If you are confined to agoraphobia, you may need to seek a therapist who can offer you an alternative, at least at the beginning of the treatment. The therapist can offer you the first meeting at your home or at any place where you can feel safe. Some therapists may also offer a telephone, e-mail, or computer/internet interview.

It may also be useful to go with a relative or friend, who you can trust in your appointment with the therapist and who can help if necessary.

Coping and Support

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Living with agoraphobia can make life difficult. Professional treatment can help you overcome or manage this effectively so you can avoid being a prisoner of your fears.

You can take these steps to deal with agoraphobia and to take better care of yourself:

  • Follow the treatment plan strictly: Use the prescribed medications as recommended. Do not interrupt your follow-up appointments. Try to contact your therapist regularly.
  • Try not to avoid situations that worry or frighten you: It can be difficult to find situations or environments that trigger anxiety or where you cannot feel comfortable. However, increasing frequency in such situations or environments will reduce this effect. Your family friends and therapist can help you in these situations.
  • Learn techniques and skills to calm yourself: With the help of your therapist, you can learn how to soothe and soothe yourself. Meditation, yoga, visualization are some of the simple relaxation techniques that can help. You can put these techniques into practice in the form of exercise when you feel good and then in full stressful situations.
  • Avoid alcohol and recreational medication: Limit or stop caffeine consumption. Such substances can worsen your symptoms of panic attacks or anxiety.
  • Take care of yourself: Take care of regular sleep, regular daily physical activities, and a healthy diet with enough fruits and vegetables.
  • Join a support group: Support groups, formed by bringing together people suffering from similar symptoms, such as anxiety disorder, will allow you to connect with such people and benefit from the experiences of others.

Last Updated on December 12, 2022 by Lucas Berg


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