Overcoming Claustrophobia

Claustrophobia Image

Fear of confined spaces is commonly called claustrophobia…

Claustrophobia is one of the most talked about and documented of all of the phobias that effect people. It is also one of the most misunderstood phobias as well.

What is it exactly?

Claustrophobia is Latin “claustrum” which when you translate it into English means “a shut in place” or “shut in” and from the Greek word “phobos” which means fear.

When you put the words together you get a fear of being or feeling closed in/shut in somewhere (Often times a small tight space.) When you go further into what it means looking at it psychologically, claustrophobia is for all intents and purposes a mental health issue which has at its core anxiety.

Most claustrophobics are most anxious when they are in tights spaces or enclosed areas, namely closets, elevators and windowless rooms. Generally, intense feelings of fear or worry pervade them and it starts to create anxiety which can then escalate to full-blown panic attacks, even fainting.

Most studies that look at claustrophobia tend to find that overall, 5-7% of the entire population is affected by it, but rarely do they, or will they, ever seek mental health assistance to overcome it.

Most choose to live by coping with it, or avoiding enclosed places. Unfortunately for some, it will grow to greater distressing levels whereby they avoid engaging in situations they normally would have little problems with. Some may actually become agoraphobic and avoid leaving their homes, or avoiding social interactions in public places all together.

Furthermore, some people get so intimidated by being in anything enclosed, that they can’t get on a plane or even a car (When in the car, all the windows need to be down!).

Where does it come from? Many theorists believe it is through classical conditioning that someone had an experience in an enclosed space, or has a perception of an enclosed space as posing danger because one will become confined.

This could happen for a variety of reasons, usually stemming from childhood experiences where; one might have been locked in a dark box or closet, one might have become submerged in water and nearly drowned, someone might have disliked being left in the car, or a person might have physically become stuck in a tight place or an apparatus such as the monkey bars.

These past experiences become engrained in the unconscious mind and the individual carries them into adulthood, often times not dealing with them.

What can be done to treat claustrophobia?

Cognitive therapy is the best mental health treatment in that clients are taught to let go of irrational thoughts about “closets” etc., thus letting go of past experiences. This approach teaches clients to convince themselves that the perceived fears are not real.

Invivo exposure is an excellent method for removing the anxiety by gradually introducing clients to lesser experiences until they are comfortable before going further. You might start out with putting a foot in the closet, then head/upper body inside, then standing in it completely, and eventually closing the door while standing in it.

Hypnosis is an excellent aid in that it can help the client erase the negative thoughts from childhood experiences and teach them to relax in similar experiences now as an adult.

Hypnosis is effective because it keeps you calm and relaxed while distantly reviewing any difficult situations or experiences, so teaching your mind to respond differently. Check out this self-hypnosis download to help overcome claustrophobia here >>>

Dr. Peter
Staff Writer
Free At Last Hypnosis

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