Agoraphobia: Fear of open and public spaces

It is not bad to worry from time to time, but agoraphobia is when your fears prevent you from going out into the world, and you avoid places because you think you will feel trapped and you will not be able to get help.

With agoraphobia, you may worry when you are inside:

  • Public transport (buses, trains, boats or planes)
  • Large, open spaces (parking lots, bridges)
  • Closed spaces (shops, cinemas)
  • Crowds or queuing
  • Being alone outside your home

You may be willing to go to a handful of places. This reduces the chances of panic. You may even fear leaving your home.

But the good news is that there are treatments that can help you relax.

Causes of Agoraphobia

Doctors are not sure what causes agoraphobia. They believe it is hereditary. You can get it if you have a lot of panic attacks. That’s when you have outbursts of fear that come out of nowhere and last for a few minutes.

This happens when there is no real danger.

Agoraphobia is rare. Less than 1% of people in the United States have it. Women are two to three times more likely to have it than men, and it is more common in teens and young adults.

Symptoms of this phobia

With agoraphobia, you won’t go to places that scare you. If you end up in one, you can get very anxious. Symptoms can include

  • Fast, pounding heart (palpitations)
  • Sweating, shaking, shaking, shaking
  • Respiratory problems
  • Feeling hot or cold
  • Nausea or diarrhea
  • Chest pain
  • Problems to swallow
  • Dizziness or feeling faint
  • Affraid to die

Many of these symptoms are the same for other medical conditions such as heart disease, stomach problems, and breathing problems. So you can make several trips to the doctor or emergency room before you and your doctor realize what is really going on.

Doctors often diagnose this problem by asking:

  1. Are you scared or stressful to leave your home?
  2. Do you have to avoid certain places or situations?
  3. What if you end up in one of them?

He will do a physical exam and maybe some tests to rule out any other medical problems that may be the cause.


The doctor usually treats agoraphobia with therapy, medication, or a combination. There are also some things you can do at home to feel better.

Therapy. You could try cognitive therapy. It can teach you new ways of thinking or dealing with situations that cause panic.

These new ways will help you be less afraid. You can also learn relaxation and breathing exercises.

Sometimes your therapist may suggest exposure therapy, in which you slowly try to do some of the things that make you anxious.


There are many medications that your doctor might suggest for agoraphobia. The most common types are antidepressants and anxiolytics.

Doctors often start with a low dose of one of these drugs that raises the level of a feel-good chemical in the brain called serotonin.

Some of the drugs that raise serotonin are Celexa, Effexor, Zoloft, Lexapro, and Prozac.

You will probably take medicine for at least 6 months to a year. If you feel better and are no longer stressed when you are in places that used to scare you, your doctor may start lowering the dose of your medicine.

How to deal with this disorder

Lifestyle changes can help too. Exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. They can make symptoms worse.

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Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.

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