Claustrophobia is an anxiety disorder that involves the fear of enclosed or confined spaces.

Claustrophobes may suffer from panic attacks in situations such as being in elevators, trains or aircraft. Conversely, people who are prone to having panic attacks will often develop claustrophobia. If a panic attack occurs while they are in a confined space then they will be unable to escape the situation. Claustrophobes may also fear being in crowds.

Claustrophobia can be treated in similar ways to other anxiety disorders, with a range of treatments including cognitive behavior therapy and the use of antidepressant medication.

Popularly, claustrophobia is considered to be the opposite of agoraphobia, or a “fear of open spaces”. This is an oversimplification, however: agoraphobia can also be characterized as a “fear of public spaces”, and so a crowded city square might trigger claustrophobics and agoraphobics alike.

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