How To Get Rid Of Fear Of Confined Spaces (Claustrophobia)

By Subodh / July 17, 2011

There are many phobias and disorders that plague society. Claustrophobia is a very common one. Claustrophobia or the fear of confined spaces is an anxiety disorder. There is much speculation about what causes such phobias and disorders. Most believe they are induced by a number of factors such as: life experiences and genetic insecurities. Many phobias can be traced back to traumatic childhood events. Anyone who has high stress levels and anxiety could be at risk for developing phobias.

SYMPTOMS

Many people suffering from phobias and anxiety disorders are also prone to panic attacks. There are many signs and symptoms to look for before a panic attack ensues, such as: heart palpitations, shaking or chills, nausea, extreme sweating, hyperventilation, fainting and/or a lightheaded or dizzy feeling.

RELIEVING SYMPTOMS

There are also a number of ways to lessen these symptoms and prevent a panic attack before it starts.

-HEART PALPITATIONS: Trying to relax and taking some deep breaths can sometimes help. Also, drinking grape juice is said to calm the nerves should palpitations occur.

-SHAKING: Clearing your mind of whatever is causing you stress can greatly reduce shaking. Remembering a time or place that brings you happiness can help.

-NAUSEA: Sipping water and eating saltine crackers has been shown to curb nausea. One could also try sipping ginger ale to soothe the stomach.

-EXTREME SWEATING: A cool shower or bath can help with sweating or even just a few cold compresses to the face can do wonders.

-HYPERVENTILATION: Breathing into a paper bag can bring great relief for someone hyperventilating.

-FAINTING: Lying down with your legs elevated above your heart can greatly reduce the urge to faint. Also, drinking something sugary, such as juice or soda, can help.

By following the above steps to prevent a panic attack associated with your claustrophobia, you may be able to get a better handle on your condition.

TREATMENT OPTIONS

There are a number of treatment options a person can seek if they suffer from claustrophobia. These options may include any of the following:

-MODELING: This treatment requires people with claustrophobia to mimic others with the same phobia who have positively confronted their fears or negative triggers.

-FLOODING: This method forces a subject to confront their anxiety trigger until the ensuing panic attack passes.

-COGNITIVE BEHAVIOR THERAPY (CBT): This treatment method has the subject attempt to change his or her thoughts that lead to the fear of being in an enclosed space.

-MEDICATION: Tranquilizers and antidepressants may be required if other methods prove unsuccessful.

Because many people with claustrophobia have suffered from the disorder for years it can take much treatment. The amount of treatment time depends on the severity of the phobia as well as the mindset of the person. Treatment can only be completed when a patient is confident enough to conquer their fears. This could take days, weeks, months or in the most severe cases, years. Anyone suffering from this phobia should seek treatment. By not doing so day to day activities could prove to be very stressful, which could lead to greater anxiety. Claustrophobia that is left untreated will worsen over time and be more difficult to overcome.