Tag - Cleithrophobia

Cleithrophobia – Fear of being Trapped or Locked.

What is Cleithrophobia?

Every time we take the elevators or we are just enclosed in a small congested place, we never think of it as something unusual or scary. However, unlike us, there are many among the crowd who feel suffocated, panicked and traumatized in such places. As weird it may sound, these fear do exist and the scary part is that such phobias are very risky to life only if one fails to address it. If you are guessing Cleithrophobia synonymous to claustrophobia then you are little on the wrong side. They are like soul phobias yet a little different from one another. Cleithrophobia is the fear of getting trapped somewhere or being in some congested small space where you have very little to move about.

Difference between
Cleithrophobia and

Does this sound like Claustrophobia? Well, they are like soul phobias as mentioned above. Claustrophobia is a little different. Let’s take the example of a person who is Cleithrophobic. He enters a small room and he is fine, nothing triggers the fear inside him. This happens because Cleithrophobic people do not feel fearful in confined spaces where they can leave the space at their will, their fear gets triggered only when they are trapped inside the room. If that person would have been locked inside the room, he must have had the panic attack or suffocation because of his Cleithrophobia.

On the other hand, claustrophobia is the fear of small place itself. Which means if someone is in a small enclosed place, he will feel panicked or stressed irrespective of the fact whether he/she is locked or not. These kinds of fear are known as claustrophobia.

Clearly stating that Cleithrophobia is fear of being trapped while Claustrophobia is fear of small confined places. The difference between the two phobias are very bleak but very important too. One should identify the phobia differently as treating it would be easy then.

How would you know you have Cleithrophobia? (Common Symptoms)

The symptoms of Cleithrophobiaare same as other phobias. The common symptoms being anxiety, tension, excessive sweating, nervousness, rapid heartbeats and shortness of breath.

If one has this type of phobia then there is generally a trigger point which in the case of Cleithrophobia is the feeling of being trapped. So if one enters an enclosed space with locked doors or some box where there is no place to leave then generally this phobia gets triggered. Along with the common symptoms, these reactions can be an aftermath of the phobia attack:

  • Crying
  • Screaming,
  • Physically slamming out,
  • freezing up
  • Trying to run away

If the patient fails to run away from the place, then he/she might get fatigued, unconscious or even get severe panic attacks. There will some kind of physical illness and the person won’t be able to think of any other way rather than just escaping from the situation.


  • Cleithrophobia is mostly more related to winter based fears like being trapped in the snow or underneath ice sheets.
  • Even being locked in a bathroom can trigger Cleithrophobia. Though the lock can be unlocked many people feel clogged inside the bathroom if they suffer from Cleithrophobia.
  • Cleithrophobiausually develops because of some traumatic experience either in childhood or growing years. Eg: A man suffered from Cleithrophobia because when he was a small child he was locked in the traveling trunk for quite some time.
  • Scientifically this phobia is because of the deficiency of a particular brain chemical or malfunction of the brain.

How to come out of it?

If the symptoms are life-threatening or beyond one’s own capability of dealing with it, then the patient should immediately consult a mental health doctor. Phobias can always be dealt with medical help in a better way. Since the experts know the exact remedies to cure the phobia from its root.

Systematic desensitization and other cognitive-behavioral techniques are used to treat the phobias and these can be implemented only when a professional doctor is consulted. However one should refrain from taking potent drugs which claims to cure such phobias. They actually help in calming down the severe symptoms but not actually treat the phobia. They should not be taken also because once the person stops taking the medicine there are many abrupt side effects.

While those patients who feel that their symptoms are milder and not life-threatening can resort to some self-help techniques to deal with phobias. They can practice breathing exercises to help their panic attacks that make the body calmer. They can also remove possible locks from the doors of the rooms so that they don’t feel suffocative. However, it is not always feasible to remove locks everywhere.

Fear of being Trapped/Locked or  Cleithrophobia can be a psychological issue which might be resolved depending on the situation.
Image by Prawny from Pixabay

If there is some anxiety or panic triggered, the patient can make meditation a tool to beat the fear if they are alone. And if by chance there is a friend or relative who is with the person while he gets an attack, then they can ask them to speak to them and divert their attention to many interesting things. This Stop! The technique has worked for many people who are suffering from Cleithrophobia.

And if by chance there is a friend or relative who is with the person while he gets an attack, then they can ask them to speak to them and divert their attention to many interesting things. This Stop! The technique has worked for many people who are suffering from Cleithrophobia.

Unlike any other phobia, Cleithrophobia can also get serious. The only way to deal with it is through proper remedy and treatment. One should consult a doctor in case its worst and not delay. If the situation is under control then the patient should possibly foster more mental strength to beat that little fear residing in him/her.

Cleithrophobia facts

Most people feel uncomfortable if their movement is restricted, even if the circumstances present no danger at all. Signs of this anxiety are frequently seen in domestic mammals that are confined or restrained but in wild animals, the fear can be extreme and even result in stress-induced, sudden death. In claustrophobics compared to Cleithrophobia, the stress or fear response provoked by any form of physical restriction is highly developed.

This helps to explain why people with this condition experience phobic fear not only in small, confined spaces such as a lift, phone box or cubicle of a public toilet but also in other, less obvious, circumstances, such as sitting in a chair at the hairdresser or in a seat on public transport, waiting in a supermarket queue or being among a crowd of people.

This aspect of claustrophobia provides evident similarities with agoraphobia in which feelings of being trapped and inability to escape to safety are a prominent feature.


Any kind of phobia should not be encouraged in life since fears are those small restrictions which can become the biggest of obstacles in the path of living life. Cleithrophobia is one such phobia, which doesn’t allow the person to live freely even when the situation is more than normal. If the patient cannot deal with the phobia on his own, he should take help and get it cured. Also, some healthy lifestyle and control over mind can inculcate better results. The important aspect of the entire process of dealing with Cleithrophobia is showing the mental tenacity needed to throw away the phobia outside the mind.

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Understanding Cleithrophobia: Symptoms, Causes and Cure

Understanding Cleithrophobia (Fear of Being Trapped): Symptoms, Causes, and Cure

Are you one of them, who after entering a room, face the fear of being trapped or locked in it and worry that they won’t be able to come out at their free will? There isn’t a need to worry as you are not the only one to experience persistent fear. Neither is it too late to get it cured. But it’s high time that you recognize your fear, its symptoms, and causes.

Among the many phobias, the one that suits the above-stated symptoms is the fear of being trapped (Cleithrophobia). It is the fear of being locked in enclosed places. People with such phobias avoid using elevators, going to the toilet or a place that they feel may ‘entrap’ them.

Normally, when we hear about people suffering from these symptoms, we joke about them and put them in a situational-fearful position. This can cause adverse effects and worsen both emotional and psychological behavior of a person suffering from this phobia.

If you’re wondering how the fear took control over you

Then, you should go back in the past and find out if there was any occurrence of a larger event, specifically of a traumatic one that led to this fear.  The other possible reasons could be that it is genetic or a deficiency of some vital chemicals in the brain.

There are many such cases when people fear to go alone to the toilet. One case was reported on www.boards.ie with the person’s name undisclosed. He mentioned that once, he was locked in a small place in a building and he couldn’t come out. He panicked and suffered serious injuries when making an attempt to come out of that place. The person is still suffering from serious trauma and has not forgotten the event yet.

He advises people with a similar phobia to carry their cell phones along with them even when going to the toilet.

Another case picked from the same site is that of an anonymous person, who said that before entering the toilet or any room, he makes sure to check the lock. If the lock is dodgy, then he wouldn’t enter it.

How can one determine for the symptoms of the fear of being trapped?

People often confuse Cleithrophobia with Claustrophobia, when the latter is the fear of small enclosed places.

There is another anonymous person who shares his experience on www.experienceproject.com. This person knows the difference between the two and he is sure that he is suffering from the fear of being trapped (Cleithrophobia). He supports his reasoning by stating that he is extremely comfortable in closed spaces but the fear builds up when he is stuck in the place or unable to come out of it. This freaks him out. He said that even if aT-shirt gets stuck in his head while wearing, he immediately starts panicking.

Most people suffering from this fear often behave crazy and cause trouble, mostly to themselves. In the state of phobia, they often breathe heavily as they run short of breath, start sweating, heartbeat increases; feelings of nausea, nervousness, and dread arise.

Consult a Specialized Therapist

You should ask for expert treatment in case of the fear of being trapped.
Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

If you feel you have a persistent phobia and it just does not stop from occurring often, then you will have to visit a therapist for the treatment. This will help the experts to diagnose the type of fear and then begin with a specialized treatment suitable to your needs.

Doctors often begin the treatment with drugs. However, avoid taking it, as the prescribed drugs can only cure your symptoms but not help you psychologically. And if you stop your medicines abruptly, it may also result in side effects, like the withdrawal symptoms.

Although the therapy can last for a week or a month, it is effective. It may also require for you to repeatedly get exposed to the fear which sounds scary, but it’s the best way to treat.

There are many treatments that you can help you:

Exposure therapy

In this therapy, you are repeatedly put into stressful situations which are specifically relative to your fear and later on, the fear factor is increased to the degree of requirement.

This treatment has worked successfully among many suffering from the fear of being trapped (Cleithrophobia). But it is always necessary to find a professional specialist who could understand the root cause of your fear.

Behavioral therapy

This is a one-on-one session where the experts expose you to various relaxation techniques, thereby helping you to slowly get rid of the fear.

The process is slow and requires a person to see a few photographs of enclosed places or to imagine yourself in a fearful situation. This will allow the experts to work on your thoughts, as well as to help you realize that the symptoms occurring in such cases are just mere thoughts and they will subside.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy

This therapy is all about exercising your brain to kick-away all the unwanted negative thoughts and behavior that result from the fear.

According to the study conducted by the American Psychiatric Association, it states that if you follow the treatment plan honestly, then you are sure to notice the improvement in 10 to 20 weeks and a tremendously surprising effect after a year.


This is the best treatment that you can adapt to see the resultant drastic changes in yourself.  Observe your symptoms and expose yourself to get rid of the fear.

Fear is nothing but a cluster of negative thoughts that keeps playing in your mind and thus shows up in the form of behavior. The only way to get rid of this baggage of thoughts is to control what you to think about and the language you use in your head.

This is nothing but self-evaluation.

Following the technique of Self-Evaluation can help you see improvements faster:

No one can understand their fear better than the person itself who have planted the whole trouble in his/her head. Demystify the cause of your fear and see yourself hanging out without any worries with your friends.

You will suddenly notice a positive change in your lifestyle. You will no longer walk with your head down and depressed. Instead, you will be high on energy, breathing normally and talking about what pleases you around.

So jump up from being an afraid-lazy bag and list out the plan for a quick and faster approach to cure your fear.