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How to Understand the Causes of Claustrophobia

Claustrophobia is the fear of being trapped in enclosed or small spaces. Although the general causes are not known, you may be able to get insight into your particular situation by following these tips.


  • Step 1: Learn your family history Talk to your family to see if there is a history of claustrophobia. The disorder can run in families, so you may have a predisposition for developing it.
  • Step 2: Consider your gender Consider your gender -- women are more likely to develop claustrophobia than men.
  • Step 3: Recognize that the origins may be deep-seated Recognize that the origins of your phobia could go back far into your childhood. An allergic reaction during an early camping trip, for example, could have led to an association of shortness of breath in tents.
  • TIP: The first signs of claustrophobia usually show up in childhood or adolescence.
  • Step 4: Probe your memory Probe your memory for a traumatic experience -- either recent or from a long time ago -- that may be linked to your claustrophobia.
  • Step 5: Recognize how you felt about any traumatic experiences Recognize whether any recalled experience left you feeling anxious in enclosed spaces and caused you to avoid similar situations. After finding the root, you may be on your way to overcoming your phobia.
  • FACT: Ecophobia is a fear of the home.

You Will Need

  • Family history
  • Good memory

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