Agoraphobia is classified as an anxiety disorder by the American Psychiatric Association. It is characterized by the avoidance of places and/or situations that may cause acute panic, or a feeling of being trapped without a way out.
The antecedent to agoraphobia is panic. At one time or another, the individual experienced a panic attack in public. The humiliating nature of such an event can quickly lead to fear of it occurring again. At its worst, individuals feel unable to leave their home due to anticipatory anxiety of what might happen if they were out in public.
**For further reading, head on over to, "Defining Agoraphobia - Treatment and Prevention Considerations"