Claustrophobia

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
  • Nausea
  • 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 professional at , please call 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.

Are You Parenting an Anxious Child?

Similar to adults, children can feel worried and anxious.  In fact, feeling anxious about certain things at different stages of their growth is normal.  However, if anxiety and worry are chronic, there is a chance that a serious problem is developing.

Early on, younger children may have separation anxiety from their parents. They may become clingy, have difficulty sleeping, wake during the night, start wetting the bed or have nightmares.  These behaviors are typically temporary and should begin to subside around age two or three.  If they persist as your child gets older, you may want to monitor their behavior for signs that are indicative of an anxiety disorder.

Some signs to look out for are:

  • lack the confidence to try new things or seem unable to face simple, everyday challenges
  • find it hard to concentrate
  • have problems with sleeping or eating
  • are prone to angry outbursts
  • have negative thoughts going round and round their head, or keep thinking that bad things are going to happen
  • start avoiding everyday activities, such as seeing friends, going out in public or attending school

There are many ways to help your child through these worrisome times.  Work with your child to recognize what “triggers” their anxiety and urge them to ask for help when the feel unsure. Try sticking to a regular routine and suggest reading books on the topic with your children.  Additionally, if you know a change is coming such as a new home, talk to your child and be clear on what they should expect.

Most importantly, don’t try to shield your child from situations, rather encourage your child to find ways to manage their anxiety.  Using simple relaxation techniques such as taking slow breaths can really help them navigate an episode.

If you have tried these methods and your child is still anxious, you can make an appointment with a trained mental health professional at the Jamaica Hospital Medical Center‘s Mental Health Center.  Call 718-206-7071 for 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.