Fear is a natural reaction to danger, but irrational fear caused by a relatively harmless situation, activity, or object is a phobia.
Step 1: Get anxious in enclosed places Look for uncontrollable anxiety in enclosed places, such as airplanes, trains, and cars in traffic.
TIP: Think about whether you have to open windows or sit near an exit in enclosed places, which is a common symptom.
Step 2: Avoid enclosed places Ask yourself if you do everything you can to avoid being in enclosed tunnels. Claustrophobic people are afraid of being suffocated or trapped and avoid elevators and tunnels.
Step 3: Examine your life Examine your daily life. If you are so afraid of enclosed places that it actually disrupts your normal routine, you may be suffering from claustrophobia.
Step 4: Know your fears are irrational Know your fears are irrational. If you exhibit these symptoms and know that they are irrational but can't stop them, then you may be claustrophobic.
Step 5: Look for physical reactions Look for physical reactions, such as sweating, an increased heart rate, difficulty breathing, panic, trembling, fainting, or nausea when faced with enclosed places.
Step 6: See a doctor See a doctor if you exhibit these systems. If just thinking about enclosed places provokes a reaction, then you may want to seek therapy to help you overcome your phobia and live your life to its fullest potential.
FACT: According to the National Institute of Medical Health, approximately 19 million Americans suffer from a specific phobia.