There are many things that can raise anxiety levels in people and many diagnoses that fit in well with anxiety disorders.
Claustrophobia is one of these. Someone who is claustrophobic fears small or enclosed spaces.
In severe cases, the claustrophobic cannot even be in a crowded area, even if the area itself is large.
For many who have this phobia, the thought of driving is very frightening.
This is because driving requires you to be in an enclosed space which is the root of the claustrophobics fear.
Read on for more information on this phobia and how it relates to your driving fears.
What Triggers Claustrophobic Anxiety?
● Even for the person whose claustrophobia is slight, there are certain triggers that can make it build up until they are in a full scale panic.
● Being in a small space such as a closet or bathroom stall
● Being in a situation where hands/arms and legs/feet are unable to move freely
● Flying in an airplane, especially a small craft
● Being in a large place, such as a mall, when there are large crowds of people
● Being in a car for long periods of time (or short periods, depending on the severity of the phobia)
● Being in elevators
● Taking certain medical tests such as MRI or CT Scan
There are many other examples and if you are reading this and suffer from claustrophobia, please take this information and apply it to what your triggers are.
Signs Of Rising Anxiety Due To Claustrophobia
By being aware of the signs of claustrophobia you can circumvent an anxiety attack before it peaks and there is no way out.
The most common signs that you are becoming anxious due to your claustrophobia are:
- Increased heart rate (pounding feeling in chest and ears)
- Uneven breathing
Overcoming Your Anxiety
For a claustrophobic person, each day can present a situation in which they are put to the test.
If you are having multiple failures in controlling your anxieties then you may need to examine what you are doing and change some behaviors in order to take back your life.
This is especially true of the claustrophobic that is affected so severely that every day activities trigger their anxieties.
Everyday activities can be difficult for a claustrophobic including driving. Driving is a basic activity that people must do each day in order to live their lives normally.
You have to drive to and from work, to medical appointments and to take your children to and fro. In most areas of the country driving is a must for people to succeed.
So, if your claustrophobia is affecting this important area in your life then there are things you can do to ease your anxiety and in some cases, rid yourself of claustrophobic anxiety for good.
- Get to the root of the problem
- Relaxation techniques
- Self-help programs
Understanding Your Phobia
Understanding your claustrophobia is a great step in the right direction to healing.
For many people who suffer from this phobia, something from their past can be tied in, making it clearer why the claustrophobia developed in the first place.
If you can pinpoint the event that made you claustrophobic in the first place your chances of overcoming it are much greater.
For me it happened as a child. I awoke from a nightmare and still in a sleepy haze, got out of bed and ran to the door to get my mother.
I slung the door open and went to dash out into the hall when I was stopped. I could not get out of my bedroom door!
I was pushing and it was dark but I was surrounded by things I could not see and it was as if a wall were keeping me in my room.
After hearing me yelling, my mother came in the door and after light flooded my bedroom I realized that I was in my closet.
Being roused from the nightmare coupled with my waking fear and inability to see in the dark, I ran into my closet instead of the exit door.
Ever since then I have been highly claustrophobic and can even still feel the panic in reliving that memory.
The anxiety caused by this small and seemingly insignificant event made it hard for me to ride in or drive a car; that is until I learned how to overcome it.
Relaxing Away The Phobia
Relaxation techniques have been highly successful for someone suffering from this type of phobia.
These include, but are not limited to, deep breathing, meditation, mental refocusing (going to your happy place) and calming music (music therapy).
Some of these can be used while driving and have been noted to be beneficial in cases where the anxiety has not reached peak levels.
These things should be done before your anxiety spikes.
Therapy To Free Yourself
There are many types of therapeutic techniques that can be employed by skilled therapists and can be very successful in treating anxiety caused by claustrophobia and even wipe out your claustrophobia entirely.
Just talking about it with a third party can be helpful, but a therapist can also use methods that you will find to be even more helpful in the long run.
One method is hypnosis. While this is not a 100% fool proof method of treatment (nothing is 100%), the results have been encouraging enough for it to be recommended for someone who is deeply affected by this phobia.
Another method that has more evidence behind it and is rooted in CBT is Systematic Desensitization.
This method takes you through all the aspects of your fear in a safe and relaxing environment and ends with you being slowly introduced into situations where your fear really takes hold.
The point is desensitizing you to what you fear the most and therefore overcoming it entirely.
A Step In The Right Direction With Self Help
Last by not least are self-help programs. There are many available that will help you work through the anxiety connected to your claustrophobia.
The best programs have a solid outline of the work you must do to be successful as well as DVD’s and CD’s that you can have with you when you are away from home.
It is best to choose a program that is specific to your main triggers. For instance, if driving is a trigger for you, as it was for me, you want to find a program that deals with fear of driving.
One such program, called the The Original Driving Fear Program, has seen wonderful results for people from all walks of life and who have all sorts of fears associated with driving anxiety.
It is very important to find help for your claustrophobic anxiety as it can be a severe hindrance in your daily life. If you are tired of being controlled by your own fears, then the time to get help in now.