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  • Understanding Claustrophobia: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment Options

    Claustrophobia causes someone to intensely fear confined spaces (for example, airplanes, caves, elevators, MRI machines, and tunnels). In some cases, even thinking about being in an enclosed space can produce symptoms. The fear associated with claustrophobia can be so extreme that it interferes with a person’s ability to work, attend school, and participate in other routine activities. Many people with this phobia understand that their fear is irrational but still can’t overcome it.

    What Causes Claustrophobia?

    Researchers are still working to determine exactly what causes claustrophobia. Some people develop this condition after experiencing a traumatic event as a child or an adult (for example, getting trapped in a small space). Others develop claustrophobia after observing how their parents reacted to confined spaces.

    What Are the Symptoms of Claustrophobia?

    Claustrophobia can produce numerous unpleasant symptoms, including:

    • Anxiety
    • Chest tightness
    • Chills
    • Confusion
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Dizziness
    • Dry mouth
    • Flushing
    • Lightheadedness
    • Numbness
    • Rapid heartbeat
    • Ringing in the ears
    • Shaking
    • Sweating
    • Tingling
    • Trouble concentrating
    • Upset stomach

    How Is Claustrophobia Treated?

    Claustrophobia treatment will vary from one patient to another. Some common treatment approaches include:

    • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
    • Exposure therapy (also referred to as “desensitization therapy”)
    • Relaxation exercises
    • Support groups

    Are You Struggling With Claustrophobia?

    If you think you might have claustrophobia, one of the best things you can do is speak to a therapist who has experience treating this condition. Fortunately, you can turn to the skilled team at our practice. We have the training and skills needed to help you manage your claustrophobia and start enjoying a better quality of life. Contact us today to learn more.