Symptoms of claustrophobia include a rapid heart rate, sweating, hyperventilation, a sensation of difficulty breathing, light headedness, dizziness, nausea, and feelings of doom.
Most individuals with claustrophobia are always on the lookout for exits in a closed room, tend to avoid elevators and subways, and are scared flying in plane or taking a taxi.
The diagnosis of claustrophobia is based on the history and does not involve any type of radiological study.
Over the years, several treatments have been developed to treat this disorder. The treatments gradually desensitize the individual to close spaces to allow for changes in behavior. Psychotherapy is targeted to help overcome the fear and manage the situation. Most people are taught how to relax using breathing exercise and be calm when in a claustrophobic environment.
Cognitive behavior therapy is also used to help individuals control the negative thoughts of fear. A few individuals may also benefit from the use of antidepressants and anti-anxiety agents. These drugs do not cure claustrophobia but can help diminish symptoms.
Of all the mental disorders, claustrophobia can be effectively treated and significantly improve the quality of life.