Agoraphobia is the fear and avoidance of two or more of the following: 1) being outside of the home alone, 2), standing in a line or being in a crowd, 3), enclosed places, 4) open spaces, and 5) the use of public transportation (American Psychiatric Association). The primary concern is that escape might be difficult, which may create panic attack symptoms (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Therefore, many individual who suffer from Panic Disorder develop Agoraphobia as a strategy to avoid certain places in an attempt to prevent or minimize panic attacks.
Agoraphobia occurs in 1.7% of adolescents and adults with females being twice as likely to develop it as males (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Treatment can be challenging for individuals who are afraid of leaving their homes, but typically involves a combination of exposure therapy known as systematic desensitization. This involves the pairing of mental and physical relaxation strategies with increasing steps of exposure to the feared place(s) or situation(s). Pacing always depends on the client's comfort level. Also, exploration of the history of anxiety symptoms is important for insight for clients. If you think you might have symptoms of Agoraphobia, call me to schedule an initial appointment for further evaluation and treatment.
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.