Agoraphobia is a disorder that develops when a person begins to avoid situations associated with anxiety.

It arises from an anxiety condition that has become so intense that the agoraphobic can become afraid to leave their home, as leaving the home is associated with panic episodes.

A person with Agoraphobia may fear having an anxiety attack, losing control, or embarrassing themselves.

Some agoraphobics remain in a state of fearful anticipation; some become restricted or even housebound while others can function normally. Most have great difficulty coping socially, often taking extreme measures to hide their pain from everyone.

Agoraphobia can be a chronic, disabling condition which causes people to suffer in silence, and unfortunately, individuals around the person don't understand.

An Agoraphobic may experience severe panic attacks during situations where they feel trapped. Sometimes, with severe bouts of anxiety, the agoraphobic is confined not only to their homes, but to one or two rooms, and they may even become bed bound.

The National Institute of Mental Health reports that one out of three people with panic disorder will develop agoraphobia also. There are 3.2 million people ages 18-54 who are living in fear with agoraphobia every day.

Along with all other anxiety disorders, there is treatment for agoraphobia. Treatment usually involves desensitization or exposure therapy. Exposure therapy can reduce or end phobic reactions. Real life exposure in increasing levels has also been used to help overcome their fears. Medications and other therapies are used for treatment also.

Here is a video about one person's experience with agoraphobia:

To watch more videos about anxiety visit LWA's anxiety video library

Photo by John Nyboer

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