How to Overcome Claustrophobia

If you cannot go to places that are closed or crowded because you will become nervous and think you will be trapped, you may have an anxiety disorder called claustrophobia. This anxiety disorder often results in a panic attack. You can have these attacks triggered by certain situations or stimuli, such as being in a small room, a crowded elevator, or even being in a plane. Some claustrophobic people cannot even wear tight-necked clothing because this makes them feel anxious. The problem can affect the quality of your life, therefore it is important to learn how to fight against claustrophobia. 

How to Overcome Claustrophobia

Living with the fear of closed spaces is never easy, but you need to realize that you have a problem and you can take steps to overcome the fear. Here is what you can to deal this anxiety disorder.

  • Work slowly towards conquering your fear. Do not try to rush into it or else you may feel discouraged. Be sure to set realistic goals and slowly move ahead to overcome claustrophobia.
  • Utilize relaxation techniques to manage your fear and anxiety. You can talk to a psychologist to learn these techniques and then practice them when you are in a small confined space.
  • Keep a positive outlook all the time. You need to be optimistic and remind yourself that your fear cannot overpower you and that you are not in any danger.
  • Keep yourself busy and empower yourself in different areas of life. You can start a new hobby or even take a self-help course. This helps reduce your anxiety in general. When you are less anxious, you are less likely to feel panicked about being in a closed space.
  • Learn more about your condition to get a real idea about what you are dealing with. You can find self-help books and even find groups online to learn how to overcome this condition.

How to Overcome Claustrophobia on Flights

One of the biggest issues people with claustrophobia face is that they cannot travel by airplane. However, you can certainly take some steps to overcome your fear and make things better. Here are a few recommendations.

1. Find the Right Seat

When traveling by air, be sure to select an aisle seat. It is even better to find a seat in business or first class because you will have more room. While you certainly have to spend more money to get these seats, you will find it easier to overcome claustrophobia with some extra room available.

2. Talk to Your Psychologist

You may want to see your psychologist before you take your flight. Sometimes, it is better to schedule several sessions before your trip because this equips you with enough information to stay calm on your flight. They really help you change your perception about personal space and flying. They may also give you a prescription for at least two doses of sedatives: You can use one during the initial flight and the other one during the return trip. Keep them in your carry-on in case you need them.

3. Wear Appropriate Clothing

Be sure to wear loose-fitting clothes when going to the airport. A tank top or V-neck shirt usually works fine. If you are wearing a dress shirt, be sure to unbutton the top few buttons. Consider wearing cozy socks and take off your shoes after boarding. This helps you feel relaxed and free.

4. Try Deep Breathing

Try to relax your nerves by practicing deep breathing soon after you get onto the plane. You are only going to make your anxiety worse by panicking and taking short, shallow breaths. Simply, close your eyes and take a deep breath: Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth slowly. Repeat this a few times and you will notice a clear difference.

5. Distract Yourself

Consider doing something to keep yourself busy throughout your flight. Whenever you get a chance, get up and walk up and down the aisles. You may also consider listening to calming music. Listening to an audio version of your favorite book may also help keep you distracted. Visualization may also help here: Close your eyes and imagine yourself in an open space. All these help keep you calm throughout the flight.

Can Claustrophobia Be Treated?

Several tips help you understand how to overcome claustrophobia, but sometimes you need medical assistance as well. The treatment that works for you usually depends on how severe your anxiety disorder is. Some of the most common treatment options for claustrophobia include the following:

  • Flooding: It is a type of exposure treatment, flooding involves exposing you to your phobic trigger until your anxiety attack passes. You start to feel better when you know that you have just faced your biggest fear and it has not harmed you in any way.
  • Counter-Conditioning: It usually is suitable for you if you are too fearful to try flooding. This involves learning some visualization and relaxation techniques that you can use while experiencing anxiety. You are also introduced to your phobic trigger, so that you could practice those techniques and attain mental and physical relaxation.
  • Modeling: This technique involves giving you a chance to see how other people confront their phobic trigger without experiencing any harm. This also helps you feel more confident and try the same to conquer your fear.
  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT): This technique involves taking steps to change your behavior and attitude that make you feel anxious.
  • Medications: You may have to rely on antidepressants and tranquilizers to treat your anxiety disorders.
  • Regression hypnotherapy: It involves using hypnosis to make you remember the traumatic event that has made you feel claustrophobic in the first place. Seeing that event again with "adult eyes" often helps you understand that it was never as traumatic as you might have been thinking until now. This overtime eliminates your fear and helps you understand how to overcome claustrophobia.
 
 
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