People who suffer from panic attacks can also suffer from agoraphobia. Agoraphobia is also known as fear of public spaces. If you suffer from agoraphobia, you are afraid of places where you feel that you cannot escape easily. You are afraid you will not be helped if something suddenly happens to you. This results in feelings of defencelessness and fear while in public, which can manifest as a panic attack. Panic attacks do not always have to coincide with agoraphobia. The central feature of agoraphobia is the fear of ‘not being able to leave’ or ‘getting stuck’. Examples of situations such as these are:

  • queuing at the checkout
  • travelling via public transport
  • when you are in a shopping centre or a large store
  • when there are many people around you

Agoraphobia is not so much about the fear of certain locations, but it is about finding yourself in such an anxious situation. The feeling of being alone is often also a scary experience. This feeling is reduced if you are with someone you trust.

Source: Keijsers, G. P. J., Van Minnen, A., Verbraak, M., Hoogduin, C. A. L. & Emmelkamp, P., (2017). Protocollaire behandelingen voor volwassenen met psychische klachten.


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