Written by Dr. Vivekanand, MBBS | 

Medically Reviewed by The Medindia Medical Review Team  on Sep 18, 2014


Agoraphobia is the irrational fear of crowded places, people, or objects. It is derived from the Greek word; "agora" meaning the market place, or a place of assembly, and a "phobia" meaning an irrational fear.

Agoraphobia is a common 'Anxiety disorder'

  • It is one of the commonest types of phobic conditions seen in clinical practise.
  • It is defined as a phobic disorder that is characterised by an irrational fear of being in places away from familiar settings

Some common situations include:

  1. Driving
  2. Shopping
  3. Crowded places
  4. Travelling
  5. Standing in line
  6. Being alone
  7. Meetings and social gatherings.

History of Agoraphobia

  • Westphal in 1872 was the first to describe the condition.
  • When describing the condition he stressed on the importance of anxiety associated with the condition.
  • Around the 1960's Agoraphobia was classified as a 'Phobic Anxiety Disorder'.


  1. Shorter Oxford Textbook of Psychiatry (IVth Edition): Oxford University Press - Michael Gelder, Richard Mayou & Philip Cowen.
  2. A Short Textbook of Psychiatry (Vth Edition): Jaypee Brothers, -Niraj Ahuja, MD.
  3. Oxford Handbook of Clinical Specialities. 6th Edition. Oxford press. -Judith Colier, Murray longmore, Peter Scally.

Latest Publications and Research on Agoraphobia


sopy24 Wednesday, August 28, 2013

hello sir..may be i have this kind of phobia when i travel in crowded train...staying away from my family for job purpose....i feel sweating, vometing, uncomfirtable what should i do....i feel losing control on my body. is der any treatment available for this...

rahul786 Wednesday, October 6, 2010

respected sir i am also feeling these type of fear and facing the same situation presently..... some more situation i face is that due to fear of crowd my stomach is unable to digest food due to fear whatever i had eaten 5 minutes earlier leads to 1st stomach ache then intestnal contraction and then loose motion plz help me

jillian Friday, October 23, 2009

It isn't like me to ever be first for anything. I am 53 and have not left my home but twice in over a year. I have suffered shyness my whole life. I have had a number of stressful episodes in my life and still have been able to overcome them except this one. But now I am at the mercy of my daughter to help me and I want to find a way forward. I don't have insurance so I can't get medical help. What help is there for me????

guest Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I've had agoraphobia since I was 16 and the best book is by Claire Weeks, Simple Effective Treatment for Agoraphobia. It's simple, makes sense and really helps. The correct medication is really helpful. You can do it!

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