Studies have indicated that Claustrophobia is one of the most common diagnosed phobias in the world. Characterized by an intense fear of enclosed spaces or populated areas, claustrophobia is often brought on by a prolonged fear or anxiety of these situations that, if left untreated, can eventually lead to a phobia. If placed in these situations, a person can experience panic attacks so severe that they may eventually refuse to go anywhere they are unfamiliar with. Untreated, claustrophobia can cause a person to completely isolate themselves from social situations, which may lead to severe depression.
Symptoms of Claustrophobia
There are varying levels of claustrophobia but symptoms can be brought on in several common situations. Common situations that may seem routine to some of us but absolutely terrifying to a claustrophobic person may include:
- Being in a room with a closed door
- Being inside of a car
- Being inside of an elevator
- Being inside of an airplane
- Being in any type of public or populated area (movie theatre, party, etc.)
If placed in these situations, a claustrophobic person may appear panicked and absolutely uncomfortable to the point where they may not be able to function. These situations may also cause a person to stand close to a doorway or even actively seek an exit or possible escape route.
Treatment of Claustrophobia
While there is no known cure for claustrophobia, there are several treatment options that can help a person cope with their fear of enclosed spaces. Exposure therapy is most commonly employed by professionals to help slowly reintroduce a person into crowded situations. With each step, a patient is encouraged to discuss their feelings and fears to help trace back the condition and more specifically, treat it in future scenarios. On a more extreme side, a method called “flooding” can be used to put a patient directly in a stressful situation and force them to stay in it until the panic attack passes. Flooding is accompanied by coping strategies and relaxation techniques that can help a person maintain their composure until their anxiety dissipates. Medication is another alternative that can be used to help sedate a person or aid their irregular heartbeats and depression.
If you feel that your claustrophobia is holding you back in life or keeping you away from enjoyable and social situations, it may be time to start seeking treatment. There are many different methods available that can help you start your therapy and help you get back to your life outside of your home. Start by doing some research on the Internet to find a method you are comfortable following and stay motivated and positive when undergoing treatment.