Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder. It is an irrational fear of being trapped in places or situations where escape is difficult. People with agoraphobia may not be able to leave the house.
The exact cause of anxiety disorders is not known. Factors that may contribute to the development of agoraphobia include:
- Changes in brain chemistry or activity
- Having a nervous system that reacts excessively, even to normal stimuli
- Increased awareness of physical changes, such as increased heart rate
- Distorted thinking, which may start a cycle of fear
Agoraphobia often develops in people with panic disorders. These disorders are associated with frequent and severe panic attacks. Agoraphobia may develop when people begin to avoid certain places or situations to prevent these panic attacks.
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
Last reviewedDecember 2014by Michael Woods, MD
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