Claustrophobia occurs when you have a morbid dread of tight, enclosed spaces. This may include a basement, tunnel or any area without windows. Some people living with claustrophobia say it feels like the walls are closing in on them. The anxiety is usually heightened during certain medical procedures such as an MRI and can reach panic levels. It's important to note that no one knows how to cure claustrophobia because there is no cure. However, there are treatments that will control the condition.
Things You'll Need
- Therapist or counselor
Obtain a therapist or counselor with experience dealing with phobias. Ask around and get references, then meet with the therapists first to determine if your personalities complement each other. If you don't feel comfortable talking with him, change counselors.
Consider behavior therapy. It involves the identification of trigger points and learning how to control your reactions to those triggers. The counselor will work with you on positive thinking, disassociation and visualization so that the feeling of danger while in a confined space is limited.
Expose yourself to the very situation that brings on the feelings of claustrophobia. Flooding is a treatment where you stay in the situation until your anxiety attack lessens. Another, less extreme method is called counter-conditioning. The counselor teaches you relaxation and visualization techniques then slowly brings you into a situation that triggers anxiety.
Undergo neuro-linguistic programming. This is another form of behavior therapy. It deconstructs your perceived view of the danger of closed spaces, which lessens your anxiety when in an enclosed space.
Take medications such as beta-blockers and anti-depressants to slow down your heart when feeling anxious. This will eliminate the heart-pounding feeling.
Tips & Warnings
- Many medical insurance plans will cover sessions with a counselor or therapist. Check to see if yours does.
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