Agoraphobia vs Claustrophobia: Difference and Comparison

The psychology of human beings entails various behaviours of human beings. A human being goes through several emotions and feelings in their life. These feelings are either positive or negative.

The positive feelings include love, faith, hope, happiness etc., on the other hand, the negative feelings include hate, sorrow, dislike, hopelessness, misfortune, fear etc.

A human being may or may not fear a thing or two in their life. A human fears a certain thing, animal, concept or other element. Two of these feats are 1. Agoraphobia, and 2. Claustrophobia.

Key Takeaways

  1. Agoraphobia is a fear of open spaces, while claustrophobia is a fear of enclosed spaces.
  2. Agoraphobia results in avoidance of situations such as crowded places or public transportation, while claustrophobia may result in avoidance of elevators or small rooms.
  3. Agoraphobia is associated with panic disorder, while claustrophobia can be a symptom of various anxiety disorders.

Agoraphobia vs Claustrophobia

Agoraphobia is a fear of situations where escape might be difficult, leading to avoidance of places like crowds, wide-open spaces, or travel. Claustrophobia is the fear of confined spaces, leading to feelings of being trapped, with triggers like elevators, tunnels, or small rooms.

Agoraphobia vs Claustrophobia

Agoraphobia is the fear of being in open spaces where there is a huge crowd of people. The Greek word “agora” is the origin of the term, which means a certain place where everybody is assembled or a marketplace.

People with this phobia feel embarrassed and stuck, or they feel helpless in the crowd.

Claustrophobia is the fear of being in closed spaces or confined places. It is derived from the Latin word “claustrum”, which means a closed place.

Whenever a person is in a closed space like an elevator or a room, he or she gets thoughts like what would happen to him or her in that particular place, and as that thought intensifies, it triggers fear in the person. 

Comparison Table

Parameters Of ComparisonAgoraphobiaClaustrophobia
MeaningAgoraphobia is the fear of being in open spaces where there is a huge crowd of people. Claustrophobia is the fear of being in closed spaces or confined places.
Medical conernLessMore
Phobia ofOpen spaces with a crowd of people.Closed and confined spaces.
Panic attackPeople with this fear are more likely to experience a panic attack.People with this fear are less likely to experience a panic attack.
TypeIt is an independent type of phobia. It comes under the category of specific phobia.

What is Agoraphobia?

The fear of open spaces with a crowd of people around is known as Agoraphobia. It is an independent and separate type of phobia that some people have.

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The anxiety people experience when they have this fear is intensified when they gradually start feeling stuck, inescapable and embarrassed in public.

The initial stages of this phobia include people experiencing panic attacks in crowded places once or twice.

People with this phobia feel like not leaving their houses because of the unfamiliarity with the people outside and the fear of feeling inescapable and embarrassed in front of them.

They also fear the loneliness they think they might experience when they step out of their houses.

People with Agoraphobia feel unsafe in public places, which are mostly crowded.

At such times people are suggested by their medical health advisors to take a relative or friend, or any other companion along with them when they visit places with a crowd of people.

Confronting the main fear factor that is bothering the person is one of the toughest parts of this phobia. The treatment for this phobia includes medications and/ or psychotherapy.

Medical health experts also suggest consulting doctors or therapists when they see symptoms like experiencing fear of waiting in line at a public place, fear of going to public places where there is more crowd, fear of using public transport facilities etc.

What is Claustrophobia?

The fear of going to close or confined places is known as claustrophobia. Some people fear going to or being in such places, while some people have a phobia about it.

Fear turns into phobia when the feeling of being scared about something gets intensifies. Similarly, when a person’s fear of being in closed spaces gets intensified, he or she experiences claustrophobia.

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Claustrophobia can stop people from going to places that seem pleasant to other people. People who are claustrophobic miss out on adventures that include going to closed spaces and spending time in those places.

It also affects the daily activities that people have to complete and carry out in their lives. However, it is possible to cure or treat claustrophobia.

Some people with claustrophobia have experienced trauma in their past lives, and the fear is also built up because of other anxiety issues that they deal with.

It can also affect their relationship with others and put a strain on them. It also affects a person’s confidence and self-esteem.

The places like a tunnel, elevators, storerooms, cellars, caves, and rooms with no windows can trigger claustrophobia in people.

People get overwhelmed and anxious, and the thought that they are being locked in a confined place bothers them, and gradually it gets intensified to a level where people also experience panic attacks.

It is treated in many ways like desensitisation therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy etc.

claustrophobia

Main Differences Between Agoraphobia and Claustrophobia

  1. Agoraphobia is the fear of being in open crowded places. On the other hand, claustrophobia is being in closed spaces.
  2. Agoraphobia is a separate independent form of phobia. On the other hand, claustrophobia is a subtype.
  3. The term agoraphobia is derived from the Greek word “agora”, on the other hand, the term claustrophobia is derived from the Latin word “claustrum”.
  4. An agoraphobic person is more likely to experience a panic attack. On the other hand, a claustrophobic person is less likely to experience a panic attack.
  5. Agoraphobia is mainly concerned with the population. On the other hand, claustrophobia is mainly concerned with the place and how it is.
Difference Between Agoraphobia and Claustrophobia
References
  1. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2014-05860-001
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/21674086.1935.11925236

Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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11 thoughts on “Agoraphobia vs Claustrophobia: Difference and Comparison”

    • The article presents a detailed understanding of the psychological complexities associated with these phobias.

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