Claustrophobia

Claustrophobia is defined as a morbid dread of enclosed spaces. Claustrophobics sometimes describe it as a fear of closed spaces or fear of being closed in. Some say it feels as if the walls are closing in.

Fear of enclosed spaces can first become apparent when certain medical procedures are performed. An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) requires that a person be in a small enclosed space for a period of several minutes. Anxiety levels for claustrophobia sufferers can reach panic levels during an MRI.

Claustrophobia may be the result of a long-forgotten childhood experience. I worked with one person who's brother had smothered him in a sleeping bag during a wrestling episode; it's easy to see how the fear could have developed that way. Other "root causes" are less obvious.

People with claustrophobia can experience anxiety in elevators, trains, crowded cars, closets, airplanes or pulling clothing over their heads. Symptoms may include excessive sweating or clamminess, rapid breathing, rapid heartbeat, nausea and dizziness.

Phobias Cured offers The Phobia Self-Help System to help you with this fear.

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