Claustrophobia is an anxiety disorder defined as the irrational fear of enclosed spaces and it affects about 15 to 37 percent of people worldwide.
Only a small percentage of sufferers receive some kind of treatment. This means that most people who are affected by claustrophobia live with some degree of restrictions on their life.
Typically, people fear having no escape, being closed in, being unable to move, or being unable to breathe.
The things sufferers avoid include travelling in lifts, flying, being alone in a small room, locking doors, being in a crowded room, travelling on public transport, sitting by the window when using public transport. Being in an MRI scanner is also a well-known problem for claustrophobics.
If you are a sufferer or know someone who suffers from claustrophobia, you can most likely add to the list of things to avoid.
What causes claustrophobia?
The most common cause is a traumatic experience in a person’s past. For example crawling into a small space and getting stuck, being in a crowded area and getting separated from parents or group, falling into a pool and almost drown, being locked in by mistake in a small room.
Another cause is behaviour inherited from parents or peers – also known as classical conditioning. This simply means that when a child observes that people close to them show fear of e.g. travelling in a lift, they learn to associate lifts with danger and will avoid them.
Other theories include a genetic survival instinct that keeps the person from perceived danger, or smaller Amygdalae (the parts in the brain that controls how the body processes fear). Some researchers from Germany and UK work on the theory that claustrophobia is caused by a single gene defect.
Don’t just live with it
As human beings we are very good at adapting. This also means that we adapt to unpleasant things such as claustrophobia and simply learn to live with the condition. It is almost as if people accept that there are things in their life that they simply cannot do and that is the way it is.
True, there are things we have to live with, but some restrictions such as those imposed by phobias can be removed easily resulting in a better and less restricted life.
Psychologists offer various treatments for claustrophobia and other phobias, which may run over several sessions. In severe cases, doctors and psychiatrists may prescribe medication.
There is another option – Thought Field Therapy
Thought Field Therapy is a quick and easy way of eliminating phobias including claustrophobia. No drugs, no pain, no exposure to unpleasant situations. In most cases, one session is enough and the phobia is gone in a matter of minutes.
If you would like to explore this option further, get in touch with me and arrange a conversation without obligation.