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 claustrophobics do anything to avoid situations and small spaces 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: Symptoms And Treatment Options
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:
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 accelerated heart rate, sweating, hyperventilation, increased blood pressure, nausea, shaking, etc. 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%.
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 -Treatment
If you have a phobia of enclosed places then we strongly suggest you take a look at our recommended self-help treatment program It’s designed and PROVEN to work for every person who follows the program correctly – without exceptions! 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.