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Agoraphobia is an intense fear of public places where you perceive that escape might be difficult. This tends to have a significant effect on quality of life by leading to avoidance of most public places and in severe cases may cause some individuals to be house bound.

Agoraphobia can occur alone or concurrently with panic disorder or any other mental health illness.

Agoraphobia may affect up to 1% of individuals over the course of their lives and is more common amongst young adults and teenagers.

Agoraphobia Treatment

The treatment options are dependent on any specific symptoms a person experiences and how severely they are affected.

Simple approaches; including exercise, relaxation techniques, improved sleep hygiene, identifying and removing stressors, and spending time with natural support groups (family and friends), can improve symptoms and reduce the impact on quality of life.

Most patients will also benefit from an element of psychological therapy, including cognitive behavioural therapy.

Medical management primarily involves the use of anti-depressants (e.g. sertraline, fluoxetine). Beta-blockers (e.g. propranolol) can sometimes be useful for controlling symptoms experienced with panic disorder if this is present alongside agoraphobia.

Medicinal cannabis can be considered when first line therapies have not achieved adequate benefit.