How to deal with confinement anxiety?

This blog answers: How to deal with confinement anxiety? What is confinement anxiety? Who suffers from confinement anxiety? What are the causes of confinement anxiety? 

How to deal with confinement anxiety?

Some ways to deal with confinement anxiety are:

Systematic Desensitization 

Systematic desensitization is a process of teaching the individual how to manage their response to what they fear, which is one of the most successful therapies for phobias and anxieties.

In this, the therapist will first teach you how to relax physically. After that, you’ll create an anxiety hierarchy that rates your anxieties. 

The therapist will begin by exposing you to the least-feared trigger on your list and teaching you how to replace your anxiety with a relaxation response. 

The practice of gradual exposure retrains your physiology such that there is no dread when a trigger is encountered over time.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Emotion is an outpouring of feelings in response to specific thoughts. Cognitive-behavioral therapy aims to help you discover the thoughts that accompany your fear response, sort out the ones that are reasonable, and change the ones that aren’t. 

Healthy, realistic thoughts are combined with appropriate actions in cognitive-behavioral therapy. Physical action, such as using the elevator while thinking about how safe it is, reinforces the new, realistic attitudes you’re adopting.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing(EMDR)

With Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), coping with confinement anxiety or claustrophobia may be improved. 

EMDR, which was originally developed to treat post-traumatic stress disorder, has shown some promise in the treatment of phobias that stem from a traumatic event. 

This treatment allows you to reprocess negative emotions and thoughts related to a specific occurrence. You focus on your internal experience of the event while visually tracking an exterior stimulus under the supervision of the therapist. 

Thought processing, learning, and alleviation from physiological and emotional suffering have all been linked to lateral eye movement. 

EMDR is still being studied as a newer therapy though it was originally introduced in 1991. It is a very short-term treatment that produces long-term results.

Group therapy

It is based on the principle that when an individual interacts with other people who are suffering from the same fears they might not feel left alone or isolated. Group therapy usually involves a group of individuals who are experiencing similar symptoms and problems.


Anxiety can also be treated with the help of medication prescribed by a health care professional. Though medication alone cannot help in reducing persistent confinement anxiety it can help in restoring a sense of control and bring temporary relief. 

What is confinement anxiety? 

Confinement anxiety refers to the feelings of panic and impending doom in enclosed places. It can also be called claustrophobia. For instance, entering a packed elevator an individual starts to perspire and finds it difficult to breathe as the doors close slowly. 

As the panic grows, they feel compelled to flee. They stagger out on unsteady legs, disoriented and out of breath as the doors finally open.

Anxiety and phobias are irrational concerns that cause reactions like sweating, chills, or hot flushes, shaking or dizziness, a feeling of suffocation or choking chest discomfort or nausea, and the dread of losing control. 

When a trigger is present, the sensations appear swiftly and fade quickly once the trigger is withdrawn. During these episodes, the symptoms can be so severe that some people believe they are dying or going insane.

Confinement anxiety is commonly triggered by elevators, however, the dread response can be triggered by any confined area like auditoriums and theatres, tunnels, bridges, airplanes, and other enclosed vehicles, and any place with a huge crowd are known to provoke the fear response.

The basis of confinement anxiety according to some studies, is a sensation of limitation and entrapment. There is also a dread of suffocation.

Who suffers from confinement anxiety? 

According to the American Psychiatric Association, women make up 75 to 90 percent of persons who suffer from confinement anxiety. Men and children are also affected, and situational-type phobias are more likely to afflict many family members, according to psychologists.

What are the causes of confinement anxiety? 

The onset of confinement anxiety appears to be linked to a number of factors. The most obvious is being exposed to a traumatic event, such as being imprisoned in an enclosed place or witnessing someone else being trapped. 

People can generally recollect the exact occurrence that they believe is the basis of their dread in these situations. Confinement anxiety has also been connected to repeated warnings from a parent about the dangers of the dreaded object.

Surprisingly, one does not have to be trapped in order to develop a dread of enclosed areas. For instance, when a woman hears an intruder breaking into her home late at night, she could hide in the closet symptoms of confinement anxiety or claustrophobia may occur as a result of the encounter. 


Confinement Anxiety is one that is relatively common and is also commonly being experienced amidst the pandemic. It is usually triggered by some past event that has turned into a phobia.

During the pandemic, staying indoors for long periods of time has raised many concerns among those with past experiences as is also creating anxiety among those who are having to constantly be indoors. 

There are however several cures for this and if at any point you experience any symptoms, please visit a mental health professional. 

Frequently asked questions: How to deal with confinement anxiety?

Is there a medication for confinement anxiety?

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors including Zoloft, Paxil, and Lexapro are routinely used and beneficial for alleviating claustrophobic symptoms.   The anti-anxiety drug also helps to alleviate the physiological symptoms of anxiety.

Why have I felt confinement anxiety all of a sudden?

The onset of claustrophobia appears to be linked to a number of factors. The most obvious is being exposed to a traumatic event, such as being imprisoned in an enclosed place or witnessing someone else being trapped. People can generally recollect the exact occurrence that they believe is the basis of their dread in these situations.

How can I get rid of my claustrophobia?

Some ways to deal with claustrophobia are: 

  • Slowly and deeply inhale and exhale while counting to three with each breath.
  • Concentrate on something safe, such as the passing of time on your watch.
  • Remind yourself that your feelings of worry and anxiety will pass.
  • Remind yourself that the fear is irrational, and you’ll be able to overcome it.


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