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Diagnosis - Agoraphobia

Agoraphobia is a type of anxiety disorder.

It causes you to avoid places and situations that might cause you to feel:

  • trapped
  • helpless
  • panicked
  • embarrassed
  • scared

Talk to your GP if you think you have agoraphobia.

If you cannot visit your GP, it should be possible to arrange a telephone call.


Your GP will ask you about your symptoms, how often they happen, and in what situations.

They'll also want to know how your symptoms are affecting your daily life.

For example, they may ask if you:

  • find it stressful to leave the house
  • have to avoid certain places or situations
  • use any avoidance strategies to help cope with your symptoms - for example, relying on others to shop for you

It can be difficult to talk to someone else about your feelings, emotions and personal life. Try not to feel anxious or embarrassed. Your GP needs to know as much as possible about your symptoms. This will help them to make the correct diagnosis. They can then recommend the best treatment.


For a diagnosis, you must feel intense fear or anxiety in 2 or more of the following situations:

  • being somewhere where it might be difficult to escape or get help - open space, enclosed space, being away from home
  • you avoid the situations described above or endure them with extreme anxiety or the help of a companion
  • there's no other underlying condition that may explain your symptoms

Your GP may decide to refer you onto a specialist mental health professional for further assessment, if necessary.

Physical examination

Your GP may want to do a physical examination. In some cases, they may decide to carry out blood tests. This is to look for signs of any physical conditions that could be causing your symptoms.

An overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can cause symptoms similar to a panic attack.

Your GP will need to rule out any underlying medical conditions to be able to make the correct diagnosis.

Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE

Page last reviewed: 1 September 2022
Next review due: 1 September 2025