What is agoraphobia and what causes it?
Agoraphobia is a anxiety disorder in which you fear and avoid places or situations that might cause you to panic and make you feel trapped, helpless or embarrassed. You fear an actual or anticipated situation, such as using public transportation, being in open or enclosed spaces, standing in line, or being in a crowd.
Doctors are not sure what causes agoraphobia. They think it runs in families. You may get it if you have a lot of panic attacks. That’s when you have bursts of fear and last for a few minutes. These happen when there’s no real danger.
Agoraphobia is rare. Less than 1% of people in the U.S. have it. Women are two to three times more likely to have it than men, and it’s more common in teenagers and young adults.