Agoraphobia – Causes and development

what is Agoraphobia?

There are dozens of phobias within our society. Some phobias are deemed ‘ok’ as they are of an inbuilt protection mechanism. Most of us would not seek the company of rats or snakes, as they can be harmful, if not lethal. With other phobias we can find a solution e.g. stairs instead of the lift, therefore some phobias do not impinge on our overall well-being. However, when a phobia does dictate how we live our lives, then it’s a sure sign that we need to act.

A great many people have found hypnotherapy, NLP, EMDR and counselling to overcome their phobias and lead a fuller life. Some phobia’s, however, are far more debilitating than others, such as agoraphobia.


Agoraphobia can start as a mild form of avoidance and if not treated can escalate into full blown agoraphobia.  It is an anxiety disorder in which a person is distressed by settings in which there is no easily perceived means of escape. An agoraphobic avoids certain social situations, large or open areas and public places where it would be difficult to hide. In some case’s agoraphobia debilitates someone to a point at which they cannot leave home.

Any situation unfamiliar to the agoraphobic becomes a potential source of fear or anxiety. This usually arises from panic attacks, which some believe stems from traumatic early life experiences. Traumatic events can disrupt learning and memories, causing depersonalisation and other methods of blocking out anxiety.  Hypnotherapy combined with psychotherapy has been proven to produce long acting beneficial results when the root cause is to be found in the yearly developing years.

How does Agoraphobia develop?

The causes of agoraphobia, like most mental disorders, are not definitive. Still, some experts have theorised that besides stressful and traumatic events, other anxiety disorders and substance abuse may also contribute. Many patients have also been diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), post traumatic stress disorder and separation anxiety disorder paired with agoraphobia.

Women may suffer from this condition more than men because of social-cultural factors that encourage avoidant coping strategies. Other theories have posited that more women may seemingly suffer from the condition simply because more of them are willing to seek help.