JUN 02, 2017 07:18 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
OCT 20, 2019
Health & Medicine
OCT 20, 2019
A Skin Patch Might be the Most Effective Melanoma Treatment
Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a fast-acting skin patch that effectively delivers cancer-fighting medicati...
OCT 20, 2019
Space & Astronomy
OCT 20, 2019
Will Aerogel Help Us Colonize Mars?
As the interest in colonizing Mars grows, researchers are scrambling to find miracle materials that might help with this long-term goal. In addition to shi...
OCT 20, 2019
Plants & Animals
OCT 20, 2019
Watch a Young Chimpanzee Fall in Love With a Spy Tortoise
Animals can be wary of human presence in their natural habitat, so much so that they’ll often flee the scene, preventing scientists from gathering da...
OCT 20, 2019
Plants & Animals
OCT 20, 2019
North American Bird Populations Fell 29% Over 50 Years, But is it Too Late?
Birds are often at the forefront of interest when it comes to wildlife enthusiasts and photographers. Sadly, new scientific research suggests that bird pop...
OCT 20, 2019
Space & Astronomy
OCT 20, 2019
NASA's Dawn Mission Taught Us Much About the Asteroid Vesta
In 2011, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft arrived at its destination, enabling planetary scientists with the American space agency to study a particularly capt...
OCT 20, 2019
Chemistry & Physics
OCT 20, 2019
Catastrophic Ancient Events Might Have Forever Changed Life-friendly Venus
There is plenty of evidence suggesting that Venus had a long history of being a habitable planet due to its abundance of water, plate tectonics, and amicab...
Loading Comments...