Chances are you know somebody who is claustrophobic. But do you know everything you could about the condition and what they're going through? Let us help you with these 10 essential facts.
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Claustrophobia is often defined simply as a fear of dark, confined spaces. However, it can extend to any situation where a person feels like they are trapped without a way out. The phobia also involves a fear of restriction and a fear of suffocation. It's classified as an anxiety disorder.
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It's often developed due to past experiences. Your mind associates danger with the act of being confined. This can happen several ways. Some of the most common are: being locked in a small space, almost drowning, or getting separated from your parents as a child and not being able to find them.
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Some experts believe claustrophobia can be considered a "prepared phobia." The argument is that it's a remnant of an evolutionary survival mechanism and a dormant fear that was once essential for survival.
Symptoms of claustrophobia vary. However, some common symptoms include: sweating, increased heart rate, dizziness, hyperventilating, inability to breathe, headaches, and trembling.
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If you suffer from claustrophobia, you're not alone! According to various reports up to 5 to 7 percent of the American public may suffer from some sort of claustrophobia.
Although 5 percent of the population may be claustrophobic, many have never been formally diagnosed. They just go out of the way to avoid confined spaces.
Several famous people suffer from claustrophobia. The actress Uma Thurman, heiress and socialite Paris Hilton, and One Direction member Niall Horan all suffer from the phobia.
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It may sound strange, but you can potentially pass on claustrophobic tendencies to your children. Kids often note a parent's anxiety around confined spaces and go on associating confined spaces with those feelings.
If you're smarter, you might be more susceptible to claustrophobia. People with above average intelligence compared to the general population have a higher incidence of claustrophobia.
Many people who suffer from the phobia never seek treatment, even though it can be quite effective. Counter conditioning and exposure therapy (gradually exposing people to situations that trigger anxiety) can help people build a tolerance and learn coping mechanisms. Others can benefit from therapy or medication.