JUN 02, 2017 7:18 AM PDT

Why are you claustrophobic?


Do you hate being in small, enclosed spaces? If you feel entrapped in subways, elevators, rooms without windows, tunnels, or caves, you could suffer from claustrophobia. The condition was first described by physician Benjamin Ball in 1879 and since then it has been seen in more and more people. The National Health Service in the UK estimates about 10% of their population deals with some form of the phobia, with about 4% suffering from full blown panic attacks triggered by small spaces.

Although science has yet to fully understand why the fear develops, a study published in Translational Psychiatry in 2013 reported that a single mutation on gene GPM6A might cause claustrophobia. Or at least it causes claustrophobia-like behavior in mice. But no matter what causes it, claustrophobia can be difficult to live with, because there is no formal medicine or treatment for the phobia. Instead, those with space-induced anxiety can practice breathing deeply, counting down from 100, lightly slapping their face, or other techniques to distract them when experiencing symptoms. Exposure therapy is also a way that those with intense panic attacks can try to manage their fear.
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
JUL 30, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Indian Schoolgirls Discover Asteroid Moving Towards Earth
JUL 30, 2020
Indian Schoolgirls Discover Asteroid Moving Towards Earth
During a project sponsored by Space India and NASA, two schoolgirls aged 14 in the 10th grade discovered an asteroid nea ...
AUG 27, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Space Rock May Contain Building Blocks for DNA
AUG 27, 2020
Space Rock May Contain Building Blocks for DNA
Researchers say that a space rock that landed in Costa Rica on April 23rd, 2019, came from an asteroid that exists as a ...
SEP 24, 2020
Health & Medicine
Extreme Isolation can Cause Physical Brain Changes
SEP 24, 2020
Extreme Isolation can Cause Physical Brain Changes
By this point in the year, you’ve either heard or uttered the phrase “quarantine brain.” While the act ...
OCT 15, 2020
Health & Medicine
An Estimated 38 Million People were Exposed to Polluted Wildfire Smoke
OCT 15, 2020
An Estimated 38 Million People were Exposed to Polluted Wildfire Smoke
As wildfires continue to burn record-breaking acreages along the west coast of the United States and inland regions, hos ...
NOV 06, 2020
Space & Astronomy
300 Million Planets in the Milky Way May Be Habitable
NOV 06, 2020
300 Million Planets in the Milky Way May Be Habitable
Researchers have found that there could be at least 300 million habitable worlds in the Milky Way galaxy. This could mea ...
DEC 10, 2020
Plants & Animals
3M Helps Solve Polar Bear Tracking Problem
DEC 10, 2020
3M Helps Solve Polar Bear Tracking Problem
As climate change continues to alter the Arctic landscape, polar bear research becomes more urgent. Observing animals in ...
Loading Comments...