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Understanding Claustrophobia

Phobia is defined as an unreasonable and persistent fear that interferes with a person's day-to-day functioning, creating anguish and making it difficult for them to carry out tasks properly. Claustrophobia is a specific phobia which is defined as an irrational dread of being trapped in confined, cramped, or crowded spaces. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), claustrophobia is a type of anxiety disorder. Generalized anxiety disorder, agoraphobia, separation anxiety disorder, and panic disorder are some other types of anxiety disorders.

Difference between fear and Claustrophobia

Fear and phobias are sometimes confused with each other. Fear is a natural emotion that arises to protect people from danger. Under normal circumstances, fear is readily managed. A phobia, on the other hand, is an unreasonable or excessive dread of a certain object, animal, or location that is out of the ordinary. Phobias are more difficult to manage and control. Although the degree of anxiety and panic experienced by people with claustrophobia varies, frequent symptoms include sweating, dry mouth, dizziness, fear of fainting, fear of losing control, numbness, and a high heart rate. These signs and symptoms are more common in childhood and adolescence. People with claustrophobia avoid crowded locations and find it difficult to ride on packed buses, trains, or even flights; they prefer to enter a small room or a windowless room with the door open. Although the exact causes of the disorder are still unknown, researchers believe that traumatic events experienced by aperson, such as being caught in an elevator, being confined in a room, and other similar experiences, are to blame.

Treatment of Claustrophobia

Claustrophobia is treated with a variety of therapeutic methods, including cognitive behavioral therapy, rational emotive behavioral therapy, and exposure therapy. The goal of cognitive behavioral therapy is to replace negative and unhealthy ideas and actions with good and healthy ones. Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy aims to help people deal with irrational ideas and handle their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in a rational and realistic manner. Exposure Therapy is a type of therapy that tries to help people overcome their fears by exposing them to the source of their fear in a safe atmosphere. Medications, which are recommended by psychiatrists, are also used to treat claustrophobia in addition to therapies.


Claustrophobia is a type of anxiety disorder in which people experience a dread of being trapped in small spaces. Medication and a variety of therapy approaches, including CBT and REBT, can be used to treat it. If an individual or a loved one is experiencing any symptoms you can reach out to our mental health professionals here.

by Kriti Kant

Content Writing Intern,

Hibiscus Counselling


Paddock, M. (2017, June 23). What’s to know about claustrophobia? Medical News Today.

Rivers, W. (1917). A CASE OF CLAUSTROPHOBIA. The Lancet, 190(4903), 237–240.

Ryan, T. (2014). Claustrophobia. Transit Lounge.

Scaccia, A. (2021, March 11). Everything You Should Know About Claustrophobia. Healthline.

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