Dr. Oz: Secret Lives of Shut-Ins & Agoraphobia


Dr. Oz says that 3.5 million Americans suffer from Agoraphobia, the most extreme form makes people so paralyzed by the fear of panic that they cannot leave their house.  People who are extremely Agoraphobic feel crippling pain and only feel safe at home.  Agoraphobes might avoid driving a car or shopping at the mall, and women are four times as likely to have it than men.  You can get Agoraphobia at any time, though most people get it around their mid-20’s and it gradually gets worse and piques around mid-age.  1 in 20 people watching Dr. Oz (and reading this article) have Agoraphobia… so would you be able to recognize if you were Agoraphobic?

David Tolin, the Director of Anxiety Disorder Centers and author of Buried in Treasures: Help for Compulsive Acquiring, Saving, and Hoarding, joined Dr. Oz to help explain Agoraphobia, which is the fear of pain.  The pituitary gland, which is in the back of the brain, in conjunction with the hypothalamus, allow panic to turn on adrenal glands which release hormones.  In turn, your lungs start to hyperventilate and you begin to sweat.


  1. Paul says

    Just my opinion, but I’m not sure I like the term “enabling” when describing a person who might be providing for an agoraphobic. Back in the day, they used to tell family members of people with asthma that they were enabling them and that the asthma was the persons way of acting out or trying to get attention.

    I can imagine situations were the person suffering with the disorder is not inclined to face it and might need a little tough love in order to really get after it. It’s not a fun thing to face day after day, but the reality, whether anyone likes it or not, is this is a real condition and people suffering with it need some help from time to time. Tough love alone isn’t going to be enough to make a person panic free. In fact, it could actually make it worse.

    That’s just my two cents. Hope it doesn’t offend anyone, but I felt I needed to say it.

  2. Jill Green says

    What were the four questions Dr. Oz asked his audience to see if anyone had symptoms of agoraphobia? It was incredible to see how many people right in his audience had risk factors. I have panic disorder and it was good form me to see that I’m not alone.

  3. says

    Jill, the four questions are actually listed above, but here they are again:

    1. Do you try to avoid crowded places that are hard to get out of (shopping malls? grocery stores?)?
    2. Do you avoid public transportation?
    3. Do you avoid being in a car (either driving or just sitting in a car)?
    4. Do you avoid long lines, bridges or tunnels?

    If you answered yes to any of these questions, the important thing to ask yourself is the reason you said yes. You are only agoraphobic if the reason you said yes is because you are afraid of panic attacks.

  4. Tracey says

    hello guys I am the Tracey that was on the show, it was very stressful for me to go on the show and talk about agoraphobia and my panic attcks but I kept telling my self that I am helping so many people that have this and help them get the help that they need and to let every one else know what we go through.

    I did not like the term enabling eaither and my Husband did not like being called an enabler as he puts it if you love and care for some one you are going to do every thing you can to take care of them no matter what he dose encourage me to get out of my safe zone.

  5. Paul says

    hey Tracy! That took some courage to get on there and talk about that. I’m glad they did a segment on agoraphobia since it’s something a lot of people are afraid to talk about. I also agree with you and your husband, it looked from what I could see that he was doing the best he can. It’s not an easy thing to deal with for a spouse or family member.

    I felt the most important statement in the show was one you made about taking lots of small steps. Hopefully phobics watching the show will take up that advice.

  6. jane says


  7. kimberly says

    im also interested in how well your doing, i have had agoraphobia for about 2 years and well it has its moments, im trying flooding instead of baby steps, they didnt work for me, i also have separation disorder from my mother in law, i cant be away from her without panicking. Well my major flooding starts tomorrow, me my husband and our 3 children are moving into our own place about 5 miles away and im anxious and trying to talk myself out of it, negative thinking seems to be the evil thing here. not only do i have to face the world but i have to do it without my safe person and start a new life. i know i will do it, just dont know how im going to handle it yet, im terrified. One breath at a time!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up to our newsletter!

Human Verification: In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.