Claustrophobia – Fear Of Enclosed Places: The word claustrophobia was derived from the Latin word claustrum, meaning ‘a shut in place’ and the Greek word phobos, meaning fear. Claustrophobia, the fear of getting trapped in small spaces, is categorized as an anxiety disorder. A person suffering from this phobia experiences an irrational fear of being closed-in. When triggered by certain situations or stimuli such as a crowded elevator, a room with no windows or an airplane, the fallout is often a panic attack. Some people may also feel claustrophobic when they wear tight-necked clothing.
Several factors have been attributed to the onset of this phobia. These include a decrease in amygdala’s (a small structure in the brain) size and classical conditioning. A person may also be claustrophobic because of a genetic predisposition. A study found that about 5% to 7% of the people in the world are affected by the fear of enclosed spaces. However, only a very small percentage of such people receive any kind of treatment.
Claustrophobia is a difficult disorder to live with. The claustrophobic will do anything to avoid small spaces and similar situations that can trigger panic or anxiety in them. They will always avoid the subways and prefer the stairs instead of lifts or elevators.
Claustrophobia – Fear Of Enclosed Places: Introduction
Claustrophobia need no longer affect your life – no one need have the fear of enclosed places anymore. There are some amazing treatment programs that really do work and there’s one we particularly recommend:
Claustrophobia is an irrational fear of enclosed places. As such it’s described as a situational phobia. In other words it’s triggered by a situation the sufferer finds themselves in rather than a specific thing. This situation could be anywhere in which the sufferer feels closed in or trapped without means of escape.
Typical, common situations include windowless rooms, small confined spaces, elevators, subways, aeroplanes etc. You’ll see the link – trapped in with no means of getting out.
That said and as mentioned earlier, there are others where restrictive and, in particularly, tight necked clothing can trigger the symptoms.
It’s a fairly common condition that’s estimated to affect up to 5% of the adult population.
Claustrophobics may suffer anxiety-like symptoms when they are in a small enclosed space. The basis of the phobia is that he/she may run out of oxygen and the fear of restriction. The symptoms exhibited by a claustrophobic when put a small space may include (amongst others):
- Extreme anxiety.
- Panic attacks.
- Accelerated heart rate.
- Increased blood pressure.
More than the small space, it is the fear of what can happen to the claustrophobic that triggers anxiety. It has been seen that most claustrophobics remove their clothing during panic attacks thinking that it will be helpful in relieving the symptoms. However, most people who fear enclosed spaces do whatever they can avoid such situations.
Claustrophobia Treatment Options
Cognitive therapy: It is one of the well-accepted treatment methods for most of the anxiety disorders. The cognitive therapy modifies the misconceptions or distorted thoughts that are responsible for a person being in the condition. S. J. Rachman’s study revealed that the cognitive therapy was effective in decreasing negative thoughts by as much as an average 30% when patients who had claustrophobia were tested.
In Vivo exposure: This method focuses on exposing the sufferer of this phobia to his/her fears in a progressive manner, beginning with mild to severe exposures. When S.J. Rachman studied this method’s effectiveness in treating claustrophobia, he observed that negative thoughts and fear decreased by nearly 75% in the patients he tested.
Interoceptive exposure: In this method, an attempt is made to recreate the internal physical sensations of a sufferer in an environment that is controlled. This method is less intensive compared to in vivo exposure. This was another method that S. J. Rachman tested in his 1992 studies. He observed that this method helped to reduce negative thoughts and fear by about 25%.
Neuro Linguistic Programing: Keeping it very simple NLP is a therapy designed to alter thoughts and behaviors in order to achieve a desired outcome. It’s explained in more detail here.
Hypnotherapy: Far more commonplace as an effective treatment for fears and phobias of all kinds these days. The problem is psychological and hypnosis can reset the brains auto response in order to resolve the issue.
Other treatment options that have been found to be of some help are counter-conditioning, psychoeducation, breathing re-training and regressive hypnotherapy. Doctors prescribe medications such as beta-blockers and anti-depressants sometimes to treat claustrophobia. These medications help to relieve symptoms such as heart-pounding that are associated with anxiety attacks. Some homeopathic medicines and natural products to manage panic and anxiety are also available for those who are worried about the side effects caused by medications.
Fear Of Enclosed Places – Self-Help Treatment
We’ve already explained the benefits of face to face therapy. It works but can be costly and time consuming. Something else to consider is one of the increasing number of self-help treatment programs. Some of which do seem to work very well.
If you have a phobia or fear of enclosed places then we strongly suggest you take a look at our recommended self-help treatment program. It’s specifically designed for Claustrophobia and PROVEN to work for every person who follows the program correctly – without exceptions! It’s an audio download which costs less than $15 and comes with a full, 90 day, money back guarantee.
You’ll see how easy it is to quickly and permanently cure your claustrophobia and to also rid yourself of panic attacks, OCD, Agoraphobia and Phobias – it’s completely GUARANTEED and RISK FREE.