Agoraphobia refers to a pattern of avoiding, hesitating about, or feeling very nervous in situations where panic attacks or other physical symptoms (such as nausea or diarrhea) are expected to occur.
Typical agoraphobic situations are:
- driving/ flying/ traveling by subway/bus/taxi
- waiting in lines
- crowds, stores, restaurants, theaters
- being long distances from home/ being at home alone
- unfamiliar areas
- wide open spaces/ closed-in spaces
All of these situations share one thing in common: they create the sense of being trapped (i.e., “difficulty” to escape) or of being away from safety (i.e., where help is not available). Usually, a history of panic attacks precedes symptoms of agoraphobia. Many sufferers become housebound. Some experience claustrophobic symptoms.