Agoraphobia is the extreme, and persistent fear of 'open spaces' or 'fear of the marketplace' (the literal meaning of the word 'agoraphobia').
However, this definition alone is incomplete and so may be misleading. More generally, those who experience agoraphobia are often afraid of experiencing sudden anxiety or panic and so choose to spend as much time as possible in familiar situations in which they feel in control e.g. their own home or workplace. They may tend to avoid public places and less predictable environments such as shopping centers, markets, railway stations, airports, public meetings and large social gatherings.
Agoraphobia can lead to much distress and inconvenience.
More general information about extreme fears such as Agoraphobia:
Extreme fears (phobias) such as agoraphobia can lead to a variety of disturbing symptoms such as breathlessness, difficulty in thinking or speaking clearly, dizziness, a dry mouth, a fear of dying, a fear of "going mad" or losing control, a sense of feeling sick, the inability to concentate, inability to make decisions that are usually simple, nausea, palpitations, shaking, sweating profusely, or a severe anxiety attack. Not everyone who has agoraphobia is affected by all possible symptoms, and some individuals may also have other reactions.
Even though many adult sufferers of agoraphobia (and/or other fears/phobias) are aware that their fears are unreasonable, many still experience severe anxiety even when just thinking about the subject or situation they fear. However, phobias such as agoraphobia are known and are a relatively common form of anxiety disorder that may be treated conventionally using cognitive behavioral therapy including exposure and fear reduction techniques. Drugs may also be offered, typically anti-anxiety or anti-depressants - particularly during the early stages of treatment. Other forms of treatment offered may include hypnotherapy, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) or other similar therapies.
Note that the list of phobias in this section is not complete. There are very many more phobias, including some some obscure fears, that have specific names. See our list of phobias.