Agoraphobia refers to a pattern of marked fear and anxiety about multiple situations in which escape might be difficult, help may not be available if one developed panic-like symptoms, or that one might embarrass oneself. Feared situations and associated avoidance might include forms of transportation (e.g., automobiles, buses, trains, planes, boats), being in open spaces (e.g., parking lots, the mall, bridges), being in enclosed places (e.g., elevators, theaters), standing in lines or being in crowds, or being away from the home. When children and adolescents suffer from and persistent and debilitating fear and disproportionate anxiety across multiple such situations, and the associated avoidance causes impairments, a diagnosis of agoraphobia may be warranted. Agoraphobia can be associated with considerable life impairment, reduced quality of life, and interference with family, school, and peer functioning.
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