Introduction

Agoraphobia, a type of anxiety which involves intense fear, may start in childhood or late adolescence. Individuals with agoraphobia worry about having a panic attack in a public place. Because of these fears they avoid any place or situation where escape might be difficult or help unavailable if the individual should develop sudden panic-like symptoms. In the event that they cannot avoid the feared place or situation, they show significant distress. Common fears are crowds, elevators, public transportation, and shopping malls. Some may find it extremely difficult to pursue normal activities, such as leaving home, attending entertainment or sports events, pursuing education or a career.