Claustrophobia is defined as a disorder which brings about an unrealistic fear of enclosed or small spaces. Individuals who have claustrophobia describe these sensations of feeling trapped and scared with no way out of the situation. Claustrophobia brings about symptoms of heightened anxiety or panic. The fear can be intense and can create an unbearable lifestyle.
Data indicates that 2-5 percent of individuals are affected by claustrophobia, and females are more prone to the disorder than men. Unfortunately the majority of people who suffer from claustrophobia rarely seek help because they are unaware that treatments exist. Most individuals cope by avoiding enclosed spaces and living a severely restricted life style.
The actual cause of claustrophobia is not known and the disease tends to run in families. Claustrophobia generally develops in early childhood and peaks in the 2nd-3rd decade of life. In some lucky individuals, the condition can spontaneously disappear. However, when claustrophobia persists, treatment is necessary because symptoms can affect work and life style.
Claustrophobia tends to be more common in individuals who have a history of anxiety when placed in an enclosed room or restricted space. Individuals who regularly avoid situations that have brought on previous attacks may actually have a higher chance of developing an anxiety attack.