Agoraphobia refers to a pattern of a person’s avoiding, hesitating about, or feeling very nervous in situations where panic attacks or other physical symptoms (such as nausea or diarrhea) are expected to occur.
Typical agoraphobic situations are: driving, flying, traveling by subway/bus/taxi, waiting in lines, crowds, stores, restaurants, theaters, long distances from home, unfamiliar areas, wide/open spaces, closed-in spaces, elevators, being at home alone, hair stylists, etc. All of these situations share one thing in common: they create the sense of being trapped (i.e., difficult to escape) or of being away from safety (i.e., where help is not available). Usually, a history of panic attacks precedes symptoms of agoraphobia. Many become housebound. Some get opposite effect and experience claustrophobic symptoms.