Claustrophobia is the fear of enclosed spaces. It is one of the most common phobias affecting the general population. This is a situational phobia as it is primarily triggered due to a specific situation and can have its roots in a traumatic childhood experience or from some other unpleasant experience in some point of life that involves confined spaces.
For example, a child becomes trapped in a small space such as an elevator during a power outage or find himself in a confined space while playing. An individual can experience a recurrence of such an event, in which the sufferer thinks he will be trapped, triggering a panic attack.
An individual with claustrophobia responds in a certain way to certain situations and may exhibit varying symptoms. Although a serious type of phobia, claustrophobia is very much treatable with the right kind of treatment. In behavior therapy the main focus is on identification of trigger points. The sufferer’s reactions to existing triggers are learned and not natural. He is made to visualize & practice how to cope when in small spaces. Gradually the sufferer learns to disassociate feelings of harm or danger linked with confined space.
Flooding, a form of exposure treatment gives the individual exposures to a trigger or situation up to a period he develops confidence and does not face any anxiety attacks. Moreover, claustrophobia treatment can also involve medication or several treatments in combination.