Unlike what most people think Agoraphobia is not a fear of socialising but rather an avoidance of anxiety-inducing situations. People who suffer from it may often experience panic attacks when put in the specific situation they fear. Broadly speaking, it is categorized as an anxiety disorder, and is a disrupting factor in the lives of those it affects. It can cause people to dread going out at all, which is where the previously mentioned misconception arises from.


Symptoms of such a condition are very broad and manifest differently in each individual, but can generally be categorized as follows:

  • Irrational paranoia
  • Fear of extremely specific situations
  • Isolation
  • Constant anxiety
  • Nervousness around others
  • Going out of their way to avoid something


Psychological therapy is the logical answer to help a person afflicted with agoraphobia.

  • Exposure therapy is often used to desensitize those with agoraphobia, bit by bit, in order to make life easier for them.
  • Perhaps the most effective method in milder cases would be Cognitive Behavourial Therapy, which aims at understanding the root of the problem and urges the patient to move towards a healthier mind-set. The patient talks with a therapist who analyses their thoughts and encourages a more realistic view.
  • In severe cases, a more medical road can be taken, with the prescription of medicines that help reduce anxiety. These medicines should only be taken on the recommendation of a licensed psychiatrist.

When should a person consult professionals?

According to the DSM, Agoraphobia can be diagnosed when a person faces marked and disproportionate fear in at least two public situations such as:

  • Being away from home
  • Being in a crowd
  • Being in open spaces
  • Being in enclosed spaces
  • Using public transport

Furthermore, the person should experience additional symptoms, such as:

  • Panic attacks on exposure to the phobic stimulus
  • Self-awareness that the fear is irrational
  • Avoidance behaviour

If these symptoms have shown themselves for over six months, a person should consult a psychiatrist.

Myths and Misconceptions

“People with agoraphobia never leave the house”

This is perhaps the most common misconception associated with the condition, which is why many people think it is a fear of socialization. While this may be true for some agoraphobes, it’s still an overgeneralization. Many of them are indeed capable of going outside and interacting with people, although their mental state may be fragile in such a happening.

“Agoraphobes are simply introverted”

This perpetuation is extremely harmful to the perception of the disorder. Agoraphobia is a real and extremely serious condition that needs treatment. It should never be confused with something such as introversion, as introversion isn’t usually detrimental to a person, while agoraphobia is.

“Agoraphobia can never get better”

With the therapy methods and medicine available today, agoraphobia doesn’t have to be an all-encompassing disease. It is definitely treatable, if not completely curable.