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By rayneyara Oct 30, 2012 1073 Words
The Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments of a Popular Phobia

Phobias have been a common part of the world since the beginning of time. As most people know, a phobia is “a special form of fear which… cannot be explained or reasoned away [and] is beyond voluntary control” (Marks 3). There are hundreds upon thousands of phobias in the world. However, one of the most common phobias is called claustrophobia. As most know and Ronald Doctor explains, “Claustrophobia is the fear of closed places, such as closets, subways, tunnels, telephone booths, elevators, small rooms, crowds, or other enclosed or confined spaces” (104). Claustrophobia has known symptoms, causes, and treatments.

Claustrophobia has known symptoms. Psychologists have found some common and some specific symptoms that go along with claustrophobia and its victims: If a person suffering from claustrophobia suddenly finds themselves in an enclosed space, they may have an anxiety attack. Symptoms can include: Sweating, accelerated heart rate, hyperventilation… shaking, light-headedness, nausea, fainting, [and] fear of actual harm or illness (Better Health). The common symptoms of claustrophobia are the same symptoms that one would get in the event of an anxiety attack. Nevertheless, there are also specific symptoms that go along with stronger claustrophobics. For example, if a claustrophobic person were to go into a room that is small or a little too crowded, he or she would recognize his or her exits and stand near them just in case an escape would be needed. The claustrophobic may avoid times of the day when there is a lot of traffic so that he or she does not get surrounded by all the vehicles. If he or she goes into a building that has the choice of stairs and an elevator, he or she would avoid the small space of the elevator, no matter how many stairs he or she would have to go up. Claustrophobics just really cannot stand small amounts of space in general; it is too frightening for them. There are not too many symptoms of Claustrophobia itself, but there are enough to tell whether or not a person has it. Not only have psychologists found out the symptoms of claustrophobia, but they have also figured out some of the possible causes.

Claustrophobia has known causes. Psychologists have found some possible causes for those who have this unfortunate phobia. However, everyone is different, so it may vary. The following are some of the more common causes of claustrophobia that they have found in people: Environmental and biological factors may both be involved. Some people are born with a personality style that may lend itself to the person becoming claustrophobic. Others may learn a cautious style depending on experiences they have, the way others react to them, or the behaviors they see in their parents and others. Biological and chemical processes in the brain may also play a part. (Berger).

The causes for this phobia are unique to each of those who are cursed with it. Everyone’s brains are different, so everyone will have picked up this phobia in different ways. Some learn it from their parents, while others have come by it by being locked in their room for being a bad child; it’s barely the same. There are, however, some treatments that people can indulge in to help them get over their fear of enclosed spaces.

Treatments for claustrophobia are now available to the public. Scientists have found different remedies to help people come to terms with their claustrophobia and learn how to overcome it. Some of the treatments do not even involve medications. The list of treatments are as follows: flooding, counter-conditioning, modeling, cognitive behavior therapy, and, of course, medications. The first, flooding, is when the claustrophobic person is exposed to their fear until their anxiety passes. Once they realize that they were unharmed, their phobia will sometimes go away. The second treatment, counter-conditioning, is what the claustrophobic does when he or she is too scared to try flooding. This is a technique where “the person is taught to use specific relaxation and visualization techniques when experiencing phobia-related anxiety. The phobic trigger is slowly introduced, step-by-step, while the person concentrates on attaining physical and mental relaxation (Better Health).” The result for this is the same as flooding. The third treatment is modeling, which is when the person watches other people defeat their fears and they have a want to imitate the brave behavior of the other people. The fourth, or cognitive behavior therapy, is a way of teaching the claustrophobic different ways to think and also a way to change the attitudes that make them feel the fear of enclosed spaces. Last, but not least, is the use of medications. The more common medications that are used are tranquilizers, anti depressants, and beta-blockers of most any kind. It seems that most people would choose the easy route of medications, but medications can become addictive. So, it is always good to have a few alternative methods to curing phobias. Claustrophobia may be a deep-rooted fear, but it can be overcome with the correct help.

Claustrophobia is common and annoying, but, because of what psychologists have learned about it, people are more aware of where it comes from and how to make it go away. Those who have claustrophobia can now begin trying to defeat their fear of enclosed spaces. They can get out into the world and enjoy the company of others, even when enclosed in a space that seems a little too small or crowded. They can discover what the cause of their fear is and then how to treat that fear with the correct method for them. If they are having troubles getting over the fear, they can always go to the doctor and inquire about getting some help from medications. Also, learning that they are not the only people in the world who experience extreme fear can help them cope with their own phobia. The symptoms, causes, and treatments for claustrophobia have been discovered and spread throughout the world.

Works Cited

Marks, Isaac Meyer. Fears and Phobias. New York: Academic Press, 1969. Print. Doctor, Ronald M. Encyclopedia of Phobias, Fears, and Anxieties. New York: Facts on -----------File, 1989. Print. “Claustrophobia.” State Government of Victoria, 17 ----------May 2012. Web. 08 October 2012. Berger, Vince. “Claustrophobia.” N.p, -------------2005. Web. 08 October 2012.

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