Agoraphobia is a fear of being in situations where escape might be difficult or that help wouldn't be available if things go wrong.

Many people assume agoraphobia is simply a fear of open spaces, but it's actually a more complex condition. Someone 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 the symptoms of a panic attack, such as:

  • rapid heartbeat

  • rapid breathing (hyperventilating)

  • feeling hot and sweaty

  • feeling sick

They'll avoid situations that cause anxiety and may only leave the house with a friend or partner. They'll order groceries online rather than going to the supermarket. This change in behaviour is known as avoidance.

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