Agoraphobia is a psychological disorder you've probably heard of, even if you don't know it by its proper name. Someone who's agoraphobic has a fear of the outdoors, crowds, or wide open spaces. This might seem silly or illogical, but in reality, it's one of the more common phobias. About 1.8 million adults in the United States have agoraphobia, and that number shows no signs of shrinking.
But what exactly is agoraphobia? Fear of wide open spaces dates all the way back to before Ancient Greece, where the condition originally got its name. While it varies a lot from person to person, it mostly centers around anxiety disorders and the subsequent panic-triggered episodes that happen when a person is outside. Over time, these episodes can increase in frequency and severity, and, in extreme cases, prevent a person from even leaving the house. What happens in the body and brain of someone with agoraphobia is both frightening and fascinating, and the repercussions can be severe.