Agoraphobia is the most common and perhaps the most debilitating of phobias. It is the experience of anxiety and dread during a variety of situations during which an individual believes will not be able to escape, and/or asking for help is difficult or embarrassing. It is a sensation of impending doom that tends to be accompanied by a panic attack. The anxiety and dread of potentially finding one’s self in such a situation often leads for an individual to remain at home in an attempt to feel safe. This disorder is most often experienced by women and symptoms usually begin between ages of 20 to 30 years. This phobia tends to be a chronic condition for which treatment is necessary to avoid severe consequences. Common situations/contexts that an individual with agoraphobia will attempt to avoid include:


Individuals fear that they will have a panic attack in public, that they will “lose control” in front of others, and the irrational fear that they will vomit and/or urinate “in front of everyone.”

Enclosed spaces & public transit / planes:

Individuals may avoid such situations due to the anxiety of being unable to escape.

Work spaces:

This fear is experienced most often by individuals who have been unemployed for a significant timeframe due to being unable to perform job expectations due to anxiety.

Being alone away from home:

This fear is the most incapacitating and limiting. The anxiety experienced overwhelms the individual to the point that he/she/they will not leave home without the sense of safety the presence of another trusted individual provides.