Some people fear confined spaces. What triggers the anxiety is thinking about what can happen to someone when they are confined in small spaces that triggers panic and anxiety.
For such people, enrolling in confined space training can help them cope. The phobia is known as claustrophobia. People suffering from it have their defense mechanism, and they try as much as possible to avoid small spaces because being there or thinking about it triggers anxiety and panic.
Some of the confined spaces that trigger anxiety
- Changing rooms or elevators
- Means of transport such as trains, cars, airplanes
- Revolving doors
- Medical facilities such as MRI scanner
- Tunnels, cellars, or basements
Claustrophobic people show different reactions when they are in small spaces. They will usually stay next to the exit door, avoid travel during peak hours, and take the stairs instead of using elevators even if the building has many floors.
Through consultation, a psychiatrist or psychologist can diagnose claustrophobia. They check for the following aspects for diagnosis.
- Excessive fear or anticipation of being in specific situations.
- Experience of such fear for over six months consecutively.
- Victims take extreme measures to avoid anxiety-causing situations.
- Reaction to such situations causes distress to the victim’s everyday life.
- Adult victims recognize that their fear and threat of the situation are out of proportion.
- The symptoms that the victim experiences do not attribute to other mental disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Steps to overcome the fear of confined spaces
1. Acknowledge the fear By acknowledging your fear, you can seek help in overcoming it. Do not be harsh to yourself, but rather work towards overcoming the fear.
2. Identify the causes of fear Mostly it is the negative thoughts that trigger fear. By identifying the causes and changing how one perceives the threats can help them overcome them.
3. Know the consequences of your fear and take steps to conquer the fear. The consequences of fear of small spaces include limiting your travel plans, missing events in crowded areas, and many more by seeing how much it affects one’s life, one may take measures to overcome the fear.
4. Get the facts right Fear of confined spaces is mainly due to irrational thinking that has no basis. One should identify such fears and research the facts regarding such fear. They will find that such fears do not exist and that will help them overcome the fear. The idea is to try as much as possible to repel negative thoughts and focus on the reality that such fears may not happen.
5. Distract yourself As soon as you get negative thoughts, try and distract yourself through playing challenging games, reading a book, or working on a project. One may also start visualizing positive things instead.
6. Professional help Though self-help may sometimes work, some people may require treatment and training on coping with claustrophobia. Seeking professional help to overcome the fear takes a lot of courage and is a big step towards overcoming claustrophobia.
Though conquering fear of small spaces takes time, it is possible. Remember to take one step at a time, and celebrate the small wins as you work towards conquering you’re the fear eventually.