There are five main types of agoraphobia, which are situations in which the symptoms appear. These include using public transportation, standing in line, being in enclosed spaces, being outside the home alone, and being in open spaces.

However, the way each type presents itself is similar. They involve physical and psychological symptoms of a panic attack, such as chest pain and a sense of loss of control.

Health experts do not fully understand the causes, but they theorize that it may stem from several factors, such as genetics or issues during childhood.

An estimated 1.3% of adults in the United States have agoraphobia at some point during their lifetime.

Keep reading to learn more about types of agoraphobia as well as its causes, treatment, and commonly asked questions.

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The main types refer to symptoms that appear in the following situations:

  • using public transportation, such as cars, trains, and buses
  • standing in lines or crowds
  • being in enclosed spaces, such as malls or theaters
  • being outside of the home alone
  • being in open spaces, such as parking lots or marketplaces

It is worth noting that while many people categorize the above as types, doctors do not. Instead, they diagnose a condition as agoraphobia when a person experiences intense fear when anticipating at least two of the above five situations.

The symptoms are the same regardless of the situation that triggers them. When encountering a trigger, an individual may experience physical and psychological symptoms of a panic attack.

Physical symptoms may include:

  • palpitations, which is the awareness of the heart beating too fast
  • chest pain
  • choking
  • sweating
  • lightheadedness
  • nausea

Psychological symptoms may include:

Learn more about agoraphobia.

While there is no consensus on the factors that may increase the risk, the following may play a role:

Learn more about what causes phobias.

Treatment of agoraphobia is the same regardless of the situation that triggers it. For instance, a person who fears crowds receives the same treatment as someone who fears being home alone, as the symptoms are the same.

Types of treatment include:


Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may help a person explore and change unhelpful thought patterns, enabling a return to a more functional life.

Gradual exposure, known as systemic desensitization therapy, may enable a person to confront their fears with the intent of breaking the pattern of avoidance. This approach can be highly effective.


This is for people who have more severe cases or for those who prefer medications over psychotherapy. Selective serotonin receptor inhibitors, such as sertraline (Zoloft), are generally the first-line choice.

Treatment may involve other antidepressants or antianxiety medications, but a person may need to take them for a number of weeks before they get relief.

Below are answers to commonly asked questions:

Are there different levels of agoraphobia?

The different levels of agoraphobia include mild, moderate, and serious, depending on the degree of distress or impairment present. Data from 2001 to 2003 shows among people with the condition, 28.7% had a mild level, 30.7% had a moderate level, and 40.6% had a serious level.

What causes agoraphobia?

Researchers do not agree on the cause, but they propose risk factors that include genetics and various negative childhood experiences.

Does agoraphobia ever go away?

The condition tends to be long term and persistent. Complete remission is relatively rare unless someone receives treatment. Still, severe cases have a lower rate of remission.

Other factors that reduce the likelihood of a favorable outlook include co-occurring:

Types of agoraphobia include a fear of using public transportation, standing in line, being in enclosed spaces, being outside the home alone, and being in open spaces.

The symptoms of each type of agoraphobia are the same. They can present as physical symptoms, such as palpitations and chest pain, and psychological symptoms, such as avoidance and a sense of loss of control.

While the cause is not fully known, researchers believe genetics and negative factors from childhood may increase the risk.

Treatment may involve cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to help change thought patterns or gradual exposure therapy to help someone confront their fears. Medications such as selective serotonin receptor inhibitors, other antidepressants, and antianxiety drugs may also be helpful.

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