Medical Specialties: Family practice, Internal medicine

Clinical Definition

Claustrophobia is a persistent, irrational fear of enclosed spaces. The phobia, a type of anxiety disorder, triggers reactions and anxiety symptoms such as dizziness, nausea and tachycardia, which results in avoidance of situations or objects that trigger it. Desensitization, medication and cognitive therapy can help.

In Our Own Words

Claustrophobia is fear of certain enclosed spaces that trigger anxiety symptoms such as dizziness, a pounding heart, nausea and trembling. Being exposed to an enclosed space or even thinking about the exposure can cause an anxiety reaction. Fear of caves, elevators, tunnels, and closed MRI scanners are typical examples.

Common Types
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Specific phobia
Side Effects
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Excessive sweating
  • Pounding heart
  • Trembling
  • Muscle tension
Share this article
  • The Cleveland Clinic. "Anxiety Disorder Services." 2013. Accessed November 2013.
  • University of Maryland Medical Center. "Phobia--simple/specific." May 2013. Accessed November 2013.
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