Agoraphobia - Definition

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Agoraphobia is a term meaning the fear (phobia) of open spaces such as public places or the fear of crowds (agora meaning "assembly" or "public place"). It is a pathological fear that affects about 3% of the population and, in its severe form, can represent a true neurosis (psychiatric disorder). Even though the victim of agoraphobia is aware of the disorder, he/she is often incapable of overcoming this unreasonable fear. This phobia leads to an extreme sense of insecurity and major panic if the anxiety-provoking situation is encountered. Patients can benefit from psychiatric therapy if the social impact proves significant.