Agoraphobia is a type of anxiety disorder that is characterized by intense fear of being in situations, such as crowded places like shopping malls or metro stations, where escape can be seemingly difficult or help might not be readily available.
Exact causes are unknown and can occur in individuals who have had a panic attack and are afraid of being in similar situations that could trigger another panic attack.
The average age of onset of agoraphobia is 17 years old and, in two thirds of cases, before the age of 35. Women are four times more likely to be diagnosed with agoraphobia than men.
Stressful or traumatic events can contribute to the development of agoraphobia. People who have a family history of adjustment disorder are at increased risk of developing this condition.