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41 Workers Rescued From Tunnel: Know About Fear Of Closed Space Or Claustrophobia

Claustrophobia is considered a fear of enclosed spaces. Read on to know more about this mental health condition. 

Sambhav Kumar
Written by: Sambhav KumarUpdated at: Nov 29, 2023 17:55 IST
41 Workers Rescued From Tunnel: Know About Fear Of Closed Space Or Claustrophobia

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Wednesday morning marked an emotional moment for the families of 41 laborers, enduring 17 days trapped in a fractured under-construction tunnel. 

On November 28, all 41 workers trapped inside the Silkyara tunnel in Uttarakhand were successfully rescued, bringing a conclusion to a rescue operation that had lasted more than a fortnight. Wednesday morning, they found themselves undergoing thorough examinations at the facility. Post-check-up, they are slated to return home, finally liberated from a horrible nightmare. 

Do you know what it's called when you are trapped in such a closed space and become afraid of it? Yes, it is a mental health condition called Claustrophobia. 

What Exactly Is Claustrophobia?

“Claustrophobia is a condition associated with an intense fear of confined or enclosed spaces. Those affected by this disorder fear while going into enclosed areas, they often think that they will become trapped and unable to escape. Particularly anxiety-inducing are places like elevators, tunnels, crowded rooms, and even medical facilities with machines such as MRI. The mere thought of entering these spaces fills individuals with claustrophobia with fear and apprehension,” said Dr Prerna Kohli, Clinical Psychologist, Gurgaon. 

Causes Of Claustrophobia 

The origins of claustrophobia can be multiple. According to WebMd, researchers have discovered a flaw in a gene called GPM6A may cause claustrophobia. 

Also read: Troubled By Fear? Know 3 Kinds Of Phobias With Reasons Why It Might Happen

Traumatic experiences in confined spaces, such as being trapped in an elevator or experiencing a medical procedure in a small room, can contribute to the development of claustrophobia. Also, a family history of anxiety disorders may increase a person's  susceptibility to this condition.

Symptoms Of Claustrophobia 

The symptoms of claustrophobia can affect a person in both physical and psychological ways. Physical symptoms may include:

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Trembling, and nausea

Psychologically people may experience

  • Intense feelings of panic
  •  Dread, or a strong urge to escape

These symptoms can be triggered by real or anticipated exposure to confined spaces, leading to a heightened state of anxiety.

Impact on Daily Life

Claustrophobia can have a significant impact on an individual's daily life, influencing their choice of activities like taking a lift. Avoidance of situations that may trigger claustrophobic reactions can lead to social isolation and hinder personal and professional growth.

Also read: Fear Or Phobia: How To Tell The Difference?

People suffering from claustrophobia might benefit from a variety of effective coping tactics and therapy choices. A prominent treatment technique is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which helps clients in identifying and changing negative thought patterns connected with their fear. 

Gradual exposure treatment, in which people are gradually exposed to feared circumstances in a controlled environment, can also help reduce anxiety over time.

Deep breathing exercises and mindfulness meditation, for example, can assist regulate symptoms during anxious periods. Medication given by a mental health expert may be indicated in some circumstances to alleviate the severity of symptoms.