Agoraphobia is a debilitating anxiety disorder that causes individuals to experience an overwhelming fear that they may suffer a panic attack (also known as anxiety attack), in a location where there appears to be no escape. As a result of this, individuals who struggle with agoraphobia tend to avoid public places, and in severe cases, they may even become confined to their home.
This page was clinically reviewed by Dr Ed Burns (MBChB, MRCPsych, MSc) in May 2018, and is scheduled to be reviewed again in May 2020. Dr Burns has been a doctor since 1999. He has specialised in Psychiatry since 2003 and has been a Consultant since 2011. To view all Priory agoraphobia specialists, please click here.
At Priory, we recognise that agoraphobia can be very difficult to cope with and can have a hugely detrimental impact on your health, wellbeing and quality of life. However, the good news is that agoraphobia is treatable, and you don’t have to struggle on your own; our highly qualified psychiatrists, psychologists and therapists are able to offer comprehensive and individually tailored agoraphobia treatment at our specialist hospitals and wellbeing centres, empowering you to address the underlying causes and triggers for your agoraphobia, alleviate your symptoms, and return to the healthy and fulfilling life that you deserve.
Our expert treatment teams at Priory possess a wealth of clinical expertise and experience in providing tried and tested treatment for this complex condition. We are able to deliver a broad range of established, person-centred therapeutic techniques to help you to tackle your agoraphobia symptoms, and we ensure that all treatment is personalised according to your unique needs and requirements, in order to produce the best possible outcomes for you as an individual. Our highly therapeutic, compassionate and supportive treatment environments provide you with the ideal setting in which to address your challenges, develop healthy coping mechanisms, and achieve and full and sustainable recovery.
It is important to recognise that without specialist support, your agoraphobia may worsen over time and can continue to have a profoundly negative impact on numerous areas of your life including your relationships with others, your performance at work or school, and your ability to function effectively on a day-to-day basis. Therefore, whilst seeking professional treatment for your agoraphobia can seem to be a daunting prospect, it is the most crucial step that you can take to overcome your agoraphobia and regain control of your life.
Treatment for agoraphobia at Priory
At Priory, we recognise that everyone is different and experiences agoraphobia in a unique way. That’s why we are dedicated to providing each and every one of our patients with individually tailored agoraphobia treatment and support, in order to ensure that you benefit from a truly bespoke treatment journey, positive outcomes, and long-lasting recovery. Our specialist treatment teams are committed to empowering you to acquire effective coping mechanisms to help you to manage your agoraphobia, resolve the underlying causes for your challenges, gain increased self-awareness, and return to a positive way of life.
We are able to deliver comprehensive agoraphobia treatment in an outpatient, day care or inpatient capacity, depending on the intensity of the support that you require, as well as your unique condition, needs and requirements. You can read more about these different treatment options on our approach to mental health treatment page.
In addition, Priory’s national network of specialist hospitals and wellbeing centres mean that we are able to offer you the expert support that you need in a location that is convenient for you, and in a way that can be flexible around your existing commitments.
What is agoraphobia?
Agoraphobia is a distinct form of anxiety, that is characterised by individuals experiencing excessive and overwhelming anxiety, which may include the fear that they will suffer from a panic attack in a location that they feel that they cannot escape from. As such, those who suffer from agoraphobia tend to become highly anxious in unfamiliar environments where it is perceived that they have little or no control, for example, in crowds, wide open spaces or when travelling.
The symptoms of agoraphobia occur when the sufferer is situated in an environment where they feel outside of their comfort zone. This therefore causes sufferers to identify situations in which they are not comfortable and either endure these with marked distress, or go to extreme lengths to avoid such environments, which can often lead to social withdrawal and other associated problems.
The majority of individuals with agoraphobia tend to be diagnosed with this condition as a result of having repeated panic attacks.