Agoraphobia (Fear of Open Areas)
Agoraphobia is an abnormal and persistent fear of public places or open areas, especially those from which escape would be difficult or help not immediately available. Persons with agoraphobia frequently also have panic disorder and characteristically become anxious if they even think about being trapped in a situation where it might be difficult to leave. People with agoraphobia also avoid the situations which bring them anxiety or panic. People with mild agoraphobia often live normal lives by avoiding anxiety-provoking situations. But, in the most severe cases, the victims may be incapacitated and be homebound. The disorder affects women twice as often as men, tends to start in the mid to late 20’s and the onset may appear triggered by a traumatic event. Agoraphobia comes from the Greek agora, marketplace + phobos, fear = fear of the marketplace.