Claustrophobia is an irrational fear of closed spaces, to the point where the individual may be unable to carry out normal activities, such as getting into an elevator, a small room and/or trains.

Triggers - The Causes

  • A traumatic event in childhood: Some adults with claustrophobia report one or more events where they were trapped or confined to a tight space as a child.
  • An isolated event after childhood: a triggering event such as getting stuck in an elevator or experiencing severe turbulence on an airplane.
  • Childhood exposure: feeling the anxieties of one of the parent’s reaction to confined spaces.

Symptoms - What it looks like

  • A persistent unreasonable or excessive fear caused by the presence or anticipation of a specific situation
  • Anxiety response when exposed to the trigger
  • A recognition that their fear is out of proportion to the perceived threat or danger
  • Employing measures to avoid the feared object or situation
  • The person’s reaction, anticipation or avoidance interferes with everyday life and relationships
  • The phobia has persisted for some time, usually 6 months or longer
  • Symptoms cannot be attributed to another mental condition
  • Physical symptoms - sweating and chills, accelerated heart rate and high blood pressure, dizziness, fainting, and lightheadedness, hyperventilation, tightness in the chest and difficulty breathing 

Treatment - The way to healing

  • Exposure Therapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Medications, such as anti-anxiety drugs
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