If you do everything possible to avoid going through revolving doors, getting into elevators, sitting in the back seat of a two-door car, or going through a car wash, maybe you are even more anxious about flying on an airplane or having an MRI. That means that you have an anxiety disorder called claustrophobia. Fortunately, that is a condition that often responds well to anxiety therapy services.
If you do decide to get anxiety therapy, you will meet with a counselor who has extensive training and experience in treating anxiety disorders. At your very first meeting, the counselor will want to know all about your medical history. In particular, he or she will want to know if either of your parents also suffered from claustrophobia. If that is the case, this condition could even be in your genes.
The counselor will ask you to answer many questions that might lead you to recall a time when you were in frightening situations. That could be a memory of being stuck in an elevator or a memory of when you couldn't get away from a bully when you were in school. Even something very painful and personal like being in a past abusive situation might be the trigger that has led you to be claustrophobic.
Once the counselor understands more about your background, cognitive behavioral therapy will more than likely be done in order to change your thoughts and your behavior. Part of that therapy might include desensitization where you will be encouraged to totally relax, and then to imagine the reasons that you have claustrophobia. The counselor will lead you through the least frightening situations through to the most serious, or frightening situations.
You might be given tasks to do when you are away from the therapist. For instance, he or she might suggest that you take a trusted friend on an elevator ride that will go only to the second floor of a building. He might suggest that you call places ahead of time to find out how long a certain function will last. For instance, if going through a car wash takes only six minutes, will you be able to stand those six minutes by distracting yourself with something like a magazine or talking on your cell phone?
The therapist will offer practical suggestions, too. For instance, you might experience extreme dry mouth when you get in a claustrophobic situation. If that's the case, it might be suggested that you always carry a bottle of water or small candies you can suck on until the fear subsides.
If the counselor considers your anxiety to be very serious, medication might be prescribed. Once you are on the medication, it might be a lot easier to try the suggestions that the counselor has given you.