Claustrophobia is a type of anxiety disorder wherein a certain person may have an unreasonable fear of not having an escape or the feeling that he or she is closed-in. This is actually one of the most common phobias. The condition may cause them to have a panic attack, even though the condition isn’t actually a panic disorder. In some cases, the condition may disappear on its own, but for some, this is not the case. However, if you have this condition and it does not vanish on its own, you can use the different effective treatments for claustrophobia. Moreover, if you do not prefer, you can opt for therapy in managing the condition.
Claustrophobia: What is this condition?
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We all know that fear is a natural part of our lives. Actually, it is a natural part our development. However, having an extreme fear or phobia is a different thing. One of this is the claustrophobia –the fear of getting enclosed in a small area or room with no escape. Nothing like some other phobias like heights, dark, spiders, etc., this is often classified as as an anxiety disorder. This, as stated earlier may cause panic attacks when a person who has this fear is placed in any restrictive situations.
Claustrophobia may get triggered by almost everything from airplanes, subway cars, hotel rooms, and elevators, which has windows but doesn’t open. When a person is aware of their condition, they often go to far great lengths just to avoid getting exposure to claustrophobia. Just like climbing stairs rather than riding in an elevator.
Symptoms of Claustrophobia
The signs and symptoms of claustrophobia may appear following a trigger for it, just like being in a room that has no exits or windows or in a crowded area. The “small space” may vary depending on the severity of the phobia. When this condition occurs, you may feel or experience symptoms like having a panic attack. This include:
- Feeling of disorientation and confusion.
- Having a feeling of lightheadedness and fainting.
- Chest pain or tightness.
- Rapid beating of the heart.
- Experiencing hyperventilation.
- Unable to breath.
- Feeling panic or intense fear.
- Hot flashes.
- Sweating and trembling.
Here are some places that may trigger the condition:
- Crawl places or caves
- Store dressing rooms
- Revolving doors
- Car washes
- Medical facilities
- Trains and subway trains
- Small, locked rooms
- Cellars, basements, or tunnels
- Public restrooms
Causes of Claustrophobia
Actually, there are just a few known causes of claustrophobia. However, some say that the environmental factors may have a role in the development of this particular condition. Some people may develop the condition during their childhood or in their teenage years.
Claustrophobia furthermore, may be related to the amygdala dysfunction. This is the part of the brain, which controls the way we process fear. The condition may also be caused by some traumatic or distressing happenings:
- Being left in a narrow or tight space by accident, like in the closet.
- Getting stuck in a public transportation that is overcrowded.
- Being punished by locking in a small space, like in the bathroom.
- Having an experience of turbulence when flying.
- Being stuck in a crowded or tight space for a long period of time.
Treatments for Claustrophobia
Here are some most effective and most efficient treatments for claustrophobia:
Complementary or alternative medicines. Some of the natural products and supplements may be beneficial in managing the panic attack as well as anxiety.
Visualization and relaxation therapy. Meditating, taking deep breaths, and doing some muscle relaxing exercises may help in dealing with anxiety and negative thoughts.
Drug therapy. The use of various drugs may be beneficial in treating the condition. Relaxants and antidepressants may help in managing the symptoms of claustrophobia. However, this may not solve the condition at its root.
Observing others/surroundings. Seeing some other people interact with the source of the fear may cause them to reassure themselves. Furthermore, it is beneficial to patients seeing someone is facing their fear.
Cognitive behavioral therapy. The aim of this treatment is to retrain the mind of the patient, for them to no longer feel any threat or fear. This is actually one of the best treatments for claustrophobia that you can use.
Tips for Coping with Claustrophobia
Here are some of the strategies, which may help in coping up with the condition:
- Visualizing some images and positive outcomes in life.
- Getting rid or not entertaining any negative thoughts to come to the mind.
- Challenging the fear by means by reminding yourself that the fear isn’t real.
- Breathing slowly and deeply –counting one to three on each of the breath.
- Try to focus on a certain thing that is not causing any threat.
- Remind yourself that the scary thoughts and feeling will not last long and will pass.
- Stay put if a panic attack happens
- If you are driving and the condition attacks, pull over to a side road and wait until the symptoms vanish.