Imagine having every dark room you’re ever in start to close in on you. Your heart begins to beat faster. Fear begins to cause the butterflies in your stomach to feel more like a flock of seagulls. The hands begin to get clammy and there’s a cold sweat beading up on your forehead. It really feels like this could be the end.
Statistics on Claustrophobia
1. Up to 5% of the US general population may suffer from claustrophobia in some form, including mild versions of this phobia.
2. In a study involving an MRI diagnosis and claustrophobia, up to 13% of patients receiving an MRI reported having a panic attack during the procedure.
3. 60% of the things that people with claustrophobia fear will never actually take place.
4. The number of Americans who have been diagnosed with at least 1 phobia: 6.3 million.
5. Claustrophobia rates in the UK are estimated to be double that of the American rates of the phobia.
6. The most common experience of claustrophobia is a feeling or fear of losing control.
7. Many people live with claustrophobia without having it formally diagnosed and take great care to avoid confined spaces.
8. Sometimes kids with a parent who has claustrophobia may also end up becoming claustrophobic themselves by associating confined spaces with the adult’s anxiety and with a feeling helpless to comfort the parent they love.
9. In a NIH study on MRIs and claustrophobia, a total of 95 patients (1.97%) suffered from claustrophobia and 59 (1.22%) prematurely terminated the examination due to claustrophobia.
10. The longest road tunnel in the world, Lærdal Tunnel in Norway, 15.23 miles long, contains 3 chambers which are lit in blue and gold and designed as both turn-around points and a way to help lift feelings of claustrophobia.
11. Women are more prone to suffer from claustrophobia than men. About twice as many women suffer from panic disorders than men.
12. All 3 types of phobias – social, agoraphobia, and specific – are likely to affect up to 10% of the total population.
13. Anxiety disorders cost the U.S. more than $42 billion a year, accounting for 33% of the total mental health bill.
14. More than $22.84 billion of those costs are associated with the repeated use of health care services from the same patients.
15. Effective treatments that are successful in up to 90% of cases of claustrophobia.
16. Specific phobias occur in people of all ages.
17. People who have above average levels of intelligence when compared to the rest of the general population are more susceptible to the development of claustrophobia and other fears.
18. Of all the people living with anxiety, only 14.3% are currently engaged in an effective treatment.
19. The number of people who have claustrophobia and will decide to seek treatment that is considered to be at least minimally adequate: 43%.
20. Non-Hispanic Whites are more likely to experience anxiety than any other ethnic group in the United States by roughly 25% on average.
21. 50% of the children who experience anxiety in their youth will go on to develop an anxiety disorder.
22. The United States has different diagnostic criteria for phobias than most other countries in the world today.
How Claustrophobia is Defined
Claustrophobia is usually characterized as a fear of dark, confined spaces, but this phobia can occur whenever someone feels like they are trapped without a way out. This phobia is usually classified as an anxiety disorder because of the symptoms of a panic that occur and there can be several factors involved in the triggering of an attack. There are two key factors that come with a diagnosis of claustrophobia: there must be a fear of restriction and a fear of suffocation.
Although claustrophobia can manifest itself in a number of different ways, the development process of this phobia is the same in every individual. The human mind begins to associate danger with the act of confinement. This can happen in a variety of different ways, such as being locked in a closet, almost drowning in a deep pool, or even a child getting separated from their parents in a lost crowd and not being able to find them back for a long time. In almost every case of claustrophobia that has been studied, the development of it has been the result of a series of past experiences.
As the statistics will show, there are a number of unique ways that claustrophobia can develop, why it may develop in people, and how it can be treated. Because it is an anxiety disorder, it is very possible to successfully treat claustrophobia so a trigger doesn’t need to happen ever again.
More Facts About Claustrophobia
Claustrophobia may not be something that can be proactively prevented because life circumstances tend to dictate the development of this fear. Being bullied, being trapped, or being lost can all contribute to this fear – circumstances that are often outside of a person’s control.
Treating claustrophobia means taking an honest look at the triggers that someone may have and then seeking out help for them. When triggers are recognized, they can be avoided. Some people have found that having professional help to expose themselves to confined, suffocating spaces that can trigger claustrophobia can help to ease the fears and panic attacks that typically occur when the fear decides to set in.
The only problem is that a majority of people don’t actually seek treatment for their claustrophobia. They choose to recognize and avoid triggers on their own and then cope by themselves if they experience the panicking symptoms that present themselves with an attack does occur. With treatment, 9 out of 10 people with claustrophobia can improve their life and not be as affected by their fears, so encouraging those with this anxiety or fear to find help can greatly improve a life.
Claustrophobia might be a controlling fear, but it doesn’t have to be. It can be treated and triggers can be minimized. That’s what the statistics prove.