Agoraphobia is defined by the Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary as an "abnormal fear of being helpless in a situation from which escape may be difficult or embarrassing that is characterized initially often by panic or anticipatory anxiety and finally by avoidance of open or public places".
Agoraphobia can be a potentially disabling condition; some agoraphobics may become housebound for months or even years at a time. Other agoraphobics are only able to venture out into certain places that are within a personal "comfort zone", some can only go out when accompanied by a companion, and some are able to be quite functional in society but with great difficulty and discomfort.
Fortunately, agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder that is very treatable! Certain types of therapy and drugs can help agoraphobics to get back out into the world again.
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