About 2.2% of Americans suffer from agoraphobia (approximately 3.2 million adults between the ages of 18 and 54). Unexpected panic attacks, as well as the fear of experiencing another panic episode are the primary characteristic of panic disorder. There does seem to be a connection with major life transitions that are potentially stressful: graduating from college, getting married, buying a home, birth of child, changing jobs, and so on. Normally it seems to start with a particular event that scares the unconscious. The first prime directive of the unconscious mind is to protect and keep you safe. If something should scare you (or even embarrass you severely) the unconscious mind will seek to avoid the same type of(or similar) situations.
Panic disorder may also be accompanied by agoraphobia, which traditionally is thought to involve a fear of public places and open spaces. Agoraphobia is believed to be a complication of panic attacks. Agoraphobia may arise by the fear of having a panic attack in a setting from which there is no easy means of escape. If you have agoraphobia, you are likely to avoid public places such as shopping malls or confined spaces such as an airplane. In severe cases, the sufferer may become confined to their home.