What is agoraphobia?

Agoraphobia is a Greek word that literally means "s;fear of the marketplace."s; This anxiety disorder involves the fear of experiencing a panic attack in a place or situation from which escape may be difficult or embarrassing.
The anxiety associated with agoraphobia is so severe that panic attacks are not unusual, and individuals with agoraphobia typically try to avoid the location or cause of their fear. Agoraphobia involves fear of situations such as, but is not limited to, the following:
  • being alone outside his/her home
  • being at home alone
  • being in a crowd
  • traveling in a vehicle
  • being in an elevator or on a bridge
People with agoraphobia typically avoid crowded places like streets, crowded stores, churches, and theaters.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Agoraphobia is the fear of experiencing terrifying panic. At its most extreme, people with agoraphobia may not be able to leave their homes. Watch Dr. Oz discuss agoraphobia.

Strictly defined, agoraphobia is a "fear of the marketplace". More simply put, it is typically a fear of being in a public place and experiencing panic symptoms or an anxiety attack. It usually occurs in conjunction with an underlying anxiety disorder, and can occur in varying degrees of severity, from mild anxiety when in public places without an "escape" or someone to help them, to an absolute refusal to leave one's home because of the panic attack that may occur.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.