Spider phobia, water phobia, social phobia … There are numerous phobic fears that can make life difficult for us. Claustrophobia is one of the most common phobias.

The word claustrophobia is made up of two parts: The first part comes from the Latin word “claustrum” and means “custody” or “lock”. “Phobia” is the Greek term for fear. The term claustrophobia is therefore to be understood as the fear that those affected feel when staying in a closed room.

The term claustrophobia is often used in everyday. Claustrophobia is the fear of closed spaces (e.g. elevator, airplane, …). While agoraphobia leads to the fear of open,

All phobias have something in common: In the face of different situations that must be objectively classified as harmless, those affected suffer from inappropriately strong fears that are incomprehensible to outsiders.

The list of phobias is long:

  • Arachnophobia: Fear of spiders
  • Doctor phobia: fear of doctors
  • Aquaphobia (hydrophobia): Fear of water
  • Aviophobia (fear of flying): Fear of flying
  • Dysmorphophobia : Disturbed awareness of one’s own body
  • Social phobia: Fear of being the center of attention
  • Tokophobia : fear of pregnancy

In the case of claustrophobia, those affected feel so endangered in closed rooms due to the confinement that they react physically and want to escape the situation that they interpret as life-threatening in any case.

In extreme situations, such as an MRI exam, claustrophobic anxiety can develop in people who would otherwise not have similar problems. In most cases, however, the anxiety attacks are limited to such situations and are not necessarily comparable with the everyday sufferings of claustrophobic patients.In extreme situations like an investigation with one MRI Claustrophobic fears can develop in people who would not otherwise have similar problems. In most cases, however, the anxiety attacks are limited to such situations and are not necessarily comparable with the everyday sufferings of claustrophobic patients.

Claustrophobia: causes of fear of enclosed spaces

The causes that cause claustrophobia can be varied. Mostly those people develop a form of claustrophobia who are stressed and overwhelmed in their everyday life. There is always a psychological reason for the illness. Sometimes the fear of tightness can also be understood symbolically: Those affected sometimes suffer from disturbed interpersonal relationships that narrow them in the truest sense of the word.

Another common cause of the development of claustrophobia are traumatic experiences in which those affected – sometimes decades ago – were exposed to situations that were associated with a certain tightness. These can be stupid-boy pranks in which the person concerned was locked in a narrow room by classmates, for example, as well as rape.

But our genetic predispositions also have a decisive influence on whether the risk of developing an anxiety disorder such as claustrophobia is increased or not.

Features of a claustrophobia disorder

People who suffer from claustrophobia have to deal with a strong fear of losing control. They are afraid of special situations in which they feel threatened, and of which they know that physical side effects will occur – a vicious circle develops in which the fear of fear ultimately also plays an important role and the person concerned becomes isolated drives.

In the case of an acute panic attack, the body reacts to this fear in its own way: the person concerned becomes dizzy, their heart is racing, they break out in sweats and have the feeling that they cannot get enough air. Claustrophobic fears can have such severe side effects that the person concerned is in turn terrified of death.The reacts to an acute panic attack body then reacts to this fear in its own way: the person concerned becomes dizzy, their heart is racing, they break out in sweats and have the feeling that they cannot get enough air. Claustrophobic fears can have such severe side effects that the person concerned is in turn terrified of death.

Get out of fear: help with claustrophobia

It is simply not possible to permanently avoid closed rooms in everyday life: As a rule, those affected have to go to work, ride the tram, take care of offices or take part in important events, just like those not affected. None of this is permanently feasible for someone suffering from claustrophobia. Those affected tend to isolate themselves in order to avoid the dreaded difficulties.

This isolation can only be broken with therapy. Within such a therapy, those affected try to identify the causes of the claustrophobia with the support of a psychologist and thus to see through them. In addition, strategies such as breathing techniques are taught that can be used to cope with acute attacks of claustrophobia.

However, it is very important within a therapy that the patient confronts his claustrophobia. For this reason, a therapist will work with the patient to create situations that lead to the fears. The patient is taught that nothing can happen to him, so that he slowly learns not to perceive former stressful situations as such.

Drug treatment with antidepressants is also an option for people who frequently suffer from claustrophobic anxiety attacks. However, therapy is always necessary so that the causes of fear can be recognized and a way out of fear can be found.

Image source: iStock

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