Agoraphobia is a disabling Anxiety Disorder that most commonly occurs together with Panic Disorder, although it may be present without panic in some cases. About one third of people with panic disorder develop Agoraphobia. Agoraphobia is characterized by a strong fear of not been able to escape from certain situations or places if one had a Panic Attack or other physical problems, such as diarrhoea or nausea.

Individuals with Agoraphobia may become avoidant of the feared situations, and often develop “safe places" or "fixed routes” to avoid suffering severe anxiety. They may also carry safety aids, such as mobile telephones or medication bottles, if they must enter the feared situations. In the most severe cases, individuals may become housebound refusing to leave their homes for long periods, sometimes even years.

Among the most common avoidances are driving, shopping centres, crowded places such as arenas, stadiums, or theatres, traveling long distances, standing in lines, being alone, meetings, and social gatherings. Approximately 2.8% of the Australian population experience Agoraphobia.

Treatment

Agoraphobia can be treated very successfully using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.