Categorized as a “phobia”, claustrophobia is diagnosed when the patient exhibits persistent (usually 6 months or longer) unreasonable or excessive fear due to the presence or anticipation of a specific situation. That fear will often times cause an anxiety response that may lead to a panic attack.
People with claustrophobia will go to great lengths to avoid what triggers their anxiety, such as:
- Being in a small room without windows
- Riding in an airplane, small motor vehicle or subway car
- Being in a packed elevator
- Undergoing medical testing such as a MRI or CT scan
- Attending large gatherings like a concert or party
- Standing in a closet
While in the throes of an episode, the person with claustrophobia may experience one or more of these symptoms:
- Sweating and chills
- Dry mouth
- Headache and numbness
- Tightness in the chest, and chest pain
- Disorientation and confusion
- Lightheadedness, fainting, and dizziness
- High blood pressure and an accelerated heart rate
In severe cases, claustrophobia may cause reactions that can interfere with the person’s everyday life, professional life and relationships.
If you are experiencing the signs and symptoms of claustrophobia and would like to speak with a mental health professional at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-7160 to schedule an appointment.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.