What is it?Agoraphobia is a very complex phobia usually manifesting itself as a collection of inter-linked conditions. For example many agoraphobics also fear being left alone (monophobia), dislike being in any situation where they feel trapped (exhibiting claustrophobia type tendencies) and fear travelling away from their ‘safe’ place, usually the home. Some agoraphobics find they can travel more easily if they have a trusted friend or family member accompanying them, however this can quickly lead to dependency on their carer. The severity of agoraphobia varies enormously between sufferers from those who are housebound, even room-bound, to those who can travel specific distances within a defined boundary. It is not a fear of open spaces as many people think.
DIY self diagnosis
If you can answer YES to most of the questions it is likely that you are affected by agoraphobia.
During the past 6 months:
- Did you regularly avoid situations because you are frightened of having a panic attack?
- Did any of the following make you feel anxious:
- Going outside away from your home?
- Standing in long lines?
- Being in a confined space such as being in a tunnel, on the underground, etc.?
- Being at home alone?
- Being in wide open spaces, such as in a field, in a park, etc.?
- Being in crowded places?
- Did you avoid being in any of the above situations?
Anxiety UK strongly advises that people seek further information and guidance from their GP who will be able to make a formal diagnosis.
How we can help
- One year’s free subscription to Headspace (worth approx. £60), more details
- Access to reduced cost therapy
- Access to specialist email and helpline support
- Subscription to Anxious Times magazine (worth £12 annually)
- Access to our Member’s area and free online resources
- Free copy of Understanding Anxiety booklet (worth £3.99)
Agoraphobia fact sheet
This fact sheet gives a detailed overview, as well as a look at some of the evidence based approaches to treating agoraphobia.
Overcoming Panic and Agoraphobia is an evidence based self help guide underpinned by Cognitive Behavioural Therapy techniques. You can purchase this book from the Anxiety UK online shop here.
Overcoming Agoraphobia: A Self Help Manual: Professor Karina Lovell from the University of Manchester was kind enough to donate a copy of her book on agoraphobia to individuals accessing support from Anxiety UK. Click here to download a free copy.