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Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5452
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I have a severe claustrophobia which gets worst as time goes

Customer Question

I have a severe claustrophobia which gets worst as time goes by my question is what will ultimately happen if I get into a claustrophobia situation and can.t get out ( plane elevator car bus train etc. I've never been caoght in one more than a few minutes and even then it was very intense. will I flip out pass out is there a chance I could go crazy or die, and what should I do if this situation happen breathing doesn't work nor meditation where as I get so panicky I can't function I just want to get out few??
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 11 months ago.
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

The short answer to your question is nothing will happen to you. It helps to understand how anxiety works so you know why nothing will happen if you panic in a situation that you cannot get out of.

When you are anxious, your thoughts are causing your mind to think your in danger, such as when you feel trapped in a situation or place. Your body reacts by releasing adrenaline into your system. Adrenaline cause you to feel the body symptoms that are common with anxiety. It is much like after you have had a bad scare except with anxiety, there is no focus. The only thing you have to focus on is how you feel. However, after a period of time, your body releases enough adrenaline that it starts to deplete. In other words, your body cannot produce more adrenaline so it reduces and no longer causes the anxiety symptoms you are feeling (such as wanting to leave the situation you are in). If you can wait out your anxiety for a few minutes, you will find that you begin to relax and feel better after a short period of time.

It also would help you to consider short acting medications that you can take when you begin to feel anxious. Ativan or Valium are both medications you can take as needed instead of all the time. This can provide you with a way to calm yourself and therefore stay in the situation until the anxiety can pass.

Anxiety is also easy to treat with therapy. In therapy, you learn to pay attention to what you are thinking to make yourself anxious. The therapist then can help you change your thoughts and therefore how your body reacts to your thoughts. You also can learn about how to let yourself float through your anxiety thereby gaining more control over how you feel. When anxiety comes on, you allow it to flow over you without tensing or panicking in response. This makes the anxiety reduce or go away faster. To find a therapist, talk to your doctor about a referral. Or you can search on line at http://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms/.


You can also help yourself at home. There are numerous resources to help you learn more about anxiety. The more you know, the more control you will have over your anxiety. Here are some to get you started:

The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edmund Bourne is excellent for any fears. It is self help and contains everything from supplements to relaxation techniques.

The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Anxiety: A Step-by-Step Program by Bill Knaus Ed.D. and Jon Carlson Psy.D. Ed.D.

From Panic to Power: Proven Techniques to Calm Your Anxieties, Conquer Your Fears, and Put You in Control of Your Life by Lucinda Bassett

http://helpguide.org/mental/anxiety_types_symptoms_treatment.htm

You can find these books on Amazon.com or your local library may have them for you.

I hope this has helped you,
Kate
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5452
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 11 months ago.
I hope my answer was helpful to you. If you have any more questions, please let me know.

Kate










May I please request that if you find the service I provided helpful at all that you rate me with three or above? Your rating is the only way I am reimbursed for my answer. Thank you so much!
Customer: replied 11 months ago.

Kate I'm not tptally positive nothing will happen. If I get on a plane and start to panic and have to get out I'm afraid that I might create a bad scene and disrupt other passengers What are t he chances that the adreneline will wear off in time ,that I will be calm enough to act accordingly. At my age I won't be able to take my annual trips to florida and back I'm a snow bird. I need to board a plane with confidence. So I will trust your answer and pray to God I will be all right. So I'll leave the Payment for your decision I guess, I'm OK with your answer and if its the right one. That is I won't flip out or die etc that I will shortly calm down enough to relax If u accept the charge I'm OK with that. Have you ever spoken with someone who has been in a claustrophobic situation and could.t get out. If so what happen to them. This is what I guess the answer I'm really looking for. thank you

Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 11 months ago.
I have specialized in treating anxiety for over 20 years and in all that time, I have never heard of anyone losing control even when they could not get out. They may get very upset and that might be visible to others, but unless the person chooses to lose control (through convincing themselves that they will), they never do. Nothing can happen to you except you might experience severe symptoms of anxiety. But the adrenaline depletion would reduce that. How fast depends on your metabolism, so ask your doctor. He/she can help based on your current medical status.

There are many techniques you can use to help keep yourself calm. And even if you feel those techniques are not enough, you can take the medication I recommended to you along with you so you have a "back up" to help you calm down. The greatest fear of any phobic is to lose control but the more you try to make yourself do that, the more you will find that you cannot do it (you can try it right now to see what I mean).

Also, you are not alone in what you feel. Many people, especially on airplanes, feel just as you do. That is helpful to keep in mind.

If you take a proactive stance on your anxiety, you will find that you have more control than you think.

Kate

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