Cleithrophobia (A complete guide)

This article will give a brief idea about Cleithrophobia. Then it will focus on the causes and symptoms of Cleithrophobia.

Then it will highlight the treatment of Cleithrophobia, both psychotherapies, and medications.


Cleithrophobia refers to the irrational fear of being trapped, locked in or unable to leave.

It seems similar to claustrophobia but it is not.

Cleithrophobia refers to the confined area where the person feels trapped while Claustrophobia refers to the fear of being in a small area or space like an elevator or small room.

People suffering from Cleithrophobia have fear of being trapped and are not specific to space, while in claustrophobia it is the small space that creates the fear. 

Phobias are a type of anxiety disorder that can disturb a person’s life miserably.

It includes panic like condition in which people suffering from this disorder experience a high amount of anxiety or panic-like condition from the mere thought of being trapped.

People suffering from Cleithrophobia make conscious efforts in order to stay away from places where they might get the feeling of being trapped.

For example, people might avoid places like amusement parks, mazes, MRI rooms, locker rooms, etc..

They may avoid places where there are high chances of being trapped.

These people try to live in more open spaces with more chances of escape like extra stairs with elevators and fire exit as well.


There is no particular cause that has been found so far for Cleithrophobia, but environmental factors and genetic factors are responsible for it as it is for almost all other phobias. 

If a person’s family history has had some anxiety or phobic disorder or as a matter of fact any mental disorder, it is more likely for the individual to develop Cleithrophobia.

Environmental factors might include childhood experiences and trauma where the child either had some incidents like trapped in classroom or school, have been bullied by his seniors back in school or had a traumatic parenting experience where the child had more often been punished with the locked-down punishments.

There are chances that the person suffering from Cleithrophobia also suffers from GAD, OCD or Depression.

Or that person might develop any of these disorders as a comorbid disorder.


The symptoms depend on the severity of the phobia and the most common symptom would be panic attacks. 

Some of the common symptoms are:

  • Severe anxiety with a mere thought of being trapped 
  • Muscle tension, body aches
  • Breathlessness, choking sensations
  • High blood pressure
  • Sweating, nausea, fainting
  • Dizziness, restlessness, nervousness
  • Lack of concentration
  • Avoidance of places where chances are higher of being trapped

There are chances that a person suffering from Cleithrophobia makes a conscious choice of where to go and where not to go and they even choose their living spaces very consciously.

These individuals have high chances of developing OCD as well.


There is no particular treatment that has been found for this phobia but a mixture of treatments that have been found helpful for the people suffering from phobia and anxiety can be helpful for Cleithrophobia as well.


  • Talk Therapy:

Talk therapy seems very simple and easy but it’s quite opposite. A person is about to talk about his weaknesses, it’s not easy at all.

But it sure does wonders to the client as once he lets out all the emotions, it becomes easy for him to focus on the bright side of life.

  • Exposure Therapy:

Although exposure therapy is one of the best therapy for anxiety and phobias it’s a bit tricky in this case.

In this case, the therapist might start with the imagination of places where the person can be trapped, then the therapist may try to make the person experience such places in person till his anxiety provokes.

This way the individual slowly desensitizes with the fear.

  • Relaxation Therapy:

Relaxation Therapy, on the other hand, can be very helpful with these patients as it helps in calming down the racing of thoughts.

JPMR helps a person in focusing on his breathing and his one muscle at a time, which helps the client in letting go of the negative thoughts of being forgotten and the focus stays on himself only.

This helps in the long run with acceptance.

  • Mindfulness:

Mindfulness might be a good choice for the patients with the fear of being trapped, as the main purpose of mindfulness is to accept everything and being in the present.

It makes sure that a person’s senses are widened and opened. This will again help the client with acceptance.

  • CBT:

CBT is one of the best Therapy which focuses and challenges the negative automatic thoughts and it has proven to be helpful with all kinds of anxiety and phobias and it can be helpful with Cleithrophobia as well. 


  • Antidepressants:

These medicines are not only used for the patients suffering from depression or have a comorbidity of depression, but it also helps with the patients suffering from anxiety and phobias as well.

  • Anti-anxiety medicines:

These medicines help the client in controlling the symptoms of anxiety but it cannot cure the phobia.

To get a cure from phobia one has to mix the treatment of medications with psychotherapy.

Although one must not take any medication without consulting with the Doctor.


Being trapped in a place is very scary and that fear can be felt when we try to go in a maze and get stuck in it, people suffering from Cleithrophobia goes through this fear even with the thought of such places.

This blog has briefly been described Cleithrophobia. Then it has focused on the causes and symptoms of Cleithrophobia.

Then it has highlighted the treatment of Cleithrophobia, both psychotherapies, and medications.

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