What is claustrophobia?

Claustrophobia is categorized as a disorder within the aspect of anxieties. A person suffering from claustrophobia is afraid of narrow and closed spaces and rooms. The severity of one's claustrophobia can vary greatly. Some people might experience some physiological reactions like sweating, increased heart-rate or a feeling of discomfort. In rather serious and more impactful claustrophobia, one might experience seizures or panic attacks as a consequence of finding yourself closed in. 

This type of phobia is what psychologists call a specific phobia. In people suffering from claustrophobia there has been found evidence of their amygdala being agitated. 

When it comes to diagnosing this phobia, you will do a set of tests, precisely physical exams. Different reactions, consequences and after-effects are all taken into account in the process of diagnosing. Sometimes eliminating other disorders could help towards the process of finding out that the disorder could be claustrophobia.

Seeking help from a professional, for example a psychologist, could be really helpful in trying to better your situation living with claustrophobia. An important step that a psychologist could help you with is exposure to what is causing the discomfort and stress. Avoidant behavior does not remove the fear, but rather the opposite. So exposing oneself, little by little and within the same frameworks is a big step in the right direction. Combining this with regular conversations with a psychologist is a big help. In some cases medications might be necessary, however I would want to stress how in many cases this is not necessary, essentially not before having seen no results with the first applied measures for help.


Chasens, E. R., Pack, A. I., Maislin, G., Dinges, D. F., & Weaver, T. E. (2005). Claustrophobia and adherence to CPAP treatment. Western Journal of Nursing Research27(3), 307-321.

Lambrou, P., Pratt, G., & Chevalier, G. (2003). Physiological and psychological effects of a mind/body therapy on claustrophobia. Subtle Energies & Energy Medicine Journal Archives14(3).

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