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Claustrophobia-The Fear of Being Enclosed in a Tight Space


The definition of claustrophobia is:                        

An uncomfortable feeling caused by being in a situation that limits or restricts you; the fear of being enclosed in a tight space.

It is considered an anxiety disorder. There are a couple of causes:

Genetics- basically you are born with it and it takes a particular event to bring it to light.

Classic conditioning- events of confined areas eventually develop into a “disorder”. A child may develop the condition at a young age. Being left alone in a vehicle, accidentally being in an elevator alone or an older sibling locking them in a closet.

Amygdala- the fight or flight response. It is a very small part of the brain. It is thought that panic disorders and phobias are caused by this particular part of the brain.

A few symptoms of claustrophobia

Persons suffering from it have a fear of suffocating and of restriction. The feelings they have are:

  • increased sweating
  • heart beats faster
  • irrational thoughts of escaping at any cost
  • vision is affected.

It is somewhat an irrational fear or rather when someone starts to feel claustrophobic all rational thought goes away. For example, a person could be in a room with windows and a door, but if someone covers the windows and closes the door, the individual may become very uncomfortable and start to panic. The feeling of panic is a strong indicator that a person suffers from claustrophobia.

Did you know that 5-7% of the world’s population suffers from this condition?

Borrowed from “Ringers Safety Training and consulting”

There are many areas that may trigger an anxiety attack such as:

  • Elevators
  • Vessels (such as boilers) in the industrial world
  • Underground Caves
  • vehicles
  • cellars

Do you want to get over it? Here are a few ways:

Cognitive therapy- convincing the individual that the fears are irrational and the confined space is actually a good thing. ie a closet isn’t that bad, it’s a good place to store things.

Invivo exposure- immersing the individual in what scares them. ie exposing an individual to a confined space until they are used to it.

Interoceptive exposure- recreating the feeling of the confined space but in a controlled area. Not actually in a confined space.

Medication- for anxiety is also prescribed.

View on Amazon

View on Amazon for help with Claustrophobia.

A phobia is a very real condition. It can cause panic attacks and very real physical symptoms. Fortunately, the individual can either avoid confined spaces or seek the help of a doctor or psychologist for assistance.

If you have comments or questions, please share them I would love to hear from you.



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2 thoughts on “Claustrophobia-The Fear of Being Enclosed in a Tight Space

  1. Gary de La Cruz

    Hi Bill
    I suffer from claustrophobia and it is the 1st time I have actually been told that there is therapy and help in overcoming this condition, I will try and implement your suggested treatments and get back at you with the results, Thank you for sharing this.
    All the best,

    • Bill

      Please let me know how it works out for you. Thanks for stopping by. All the best

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