Fear of closed spaces or Claustrophobia is an irrational dread of being trapped in small spaces. People who suffer from claustrophobia will go to great lengths to avoid enclosed environments such as elevators, tunnels, tube trains, and public restrooms. However, avoiding these locations may exacerbate the phobia.
When in a tight place, some people with claustrophobia suffer minor discomfort, while others experience extreme anxiety or a panic attack. The emotion or anxiety of losing control is the most common occurrence. Approximately 10% of the UK population suffers from Fear of closed spaces at some point in their lives.
Fear of closed spaces triggers
Claustrophobia can be triggered by a variety of situations or feelings. Even just imagining certain events without being exposed to them can be a trigger.
- Lifts are a common claustrophobia trigger.
- Revolving doors, tunnels, tube trains
- Car washes with central locking public restrooms store changing rooms
- hotel rooms with planes with sealed windows.
If you’ve felt uneasy in a confined room or crowded place in the last six months, or if you’ve avoided similar circumstances because of it, you’re probably suffering from claustrophobia.
Anxiety about MRI scans
If you have claustrophobia and need an MRI scan, inform the hospital staff before the day of your visit. They may be able to offer you a light sedative or suggest you seek a prescription from your doctor.
In some situations, you may be able to go to an open or upright MRI centre that is specifically built for those who are afraid of MRIs. However, these clinics are frequently only provided on a private basis.
The signs and symptoms of claustrophobia
People who suffer from claustrophobia frequently get panic attacks. They can be extremely terrifying and stressful.
- A panic attack can involve physical symptoms such as sweating, shaking, hot flushes, or chills, in addition to overpowering emotions of fear.
- a choking sensation shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- a fast heart rate (tachycardia)
- chest pain or a tightening sensation in the chest
- a feeling of butterflies in the stomach, nausea, headaches, and dizziness, and a faint numbness or pins and needles sensation
- a parched throat
- a strong want to use the restroom ringing in your ears
- being perplexed or disoriented
- You may also experience psychological symptoms if you have severe claustrophobia, such as:
- dread of losing one’s grip
- Fear of passing out dreadful sensations of impending death
- What is the source of claustrophobia?
- Claustrophobia is frequently caused by a traumatic event that occurred in childhood.
Adults may develop claustrophobia if they were trapped or kept in a confined place as a child, were bullied or abused, or had a parent who suffered from claustrophobia.
Claustrophobia can also be provoked by unpleasant experiences or situations, such as being locked in a tube tunnel between stations or experiencing turbulence while flying.
A child who grows up with a claustrophobic parent may develop the fear themselves as a result of associating enclosed settings with their parent’s worry and feeling powerless to calm the person they care about.
Getting rid of Fear of closed spaces
The majority of persons who suffer from phobias are completely aware of their condition. Many people live with claustrophobia without being identified, and they avoid enclosed settings at all costs. However, seeking treatment from a GP and a behavioural therapy specialist, such as a psychologist, can often be effective.
Claustrophobia can be treated and cured by gradually exposing yourself to the circumstance that makes you afraid. Desensitisation or self-exposure treatment are terms used to describe this process. You might accomplish it on your own with self-help strategies or with the assistance of a professional.
For persons with phobias, cognitive behavioural treatment (CBT) is often highly successful. CBT is a type of talk therapy that focuses on your thoughts, feelings, and behaviour while also developing practical strategies for dealing with your fear.
On the NHS, you can access free psychological therapies, including CBT. A recommendation from your doctor is not required. You can make a direct referral to a psychological therapy service. Look for a service that provides psychological therapies in your neighbourhood. If you prefer, speak with your doctor, who will be able to refer you.
Read also: Dentophobia treatment
Read also: What is the fear of doctors and hospitals?