The description of claustrophobia that is generally offered is an intense fear of being trapped or confined in small spaces. The fear is often focused on not being able to escape or not having enough oxygen. A person dealing with claustrophobia often experiences great anxiety and difficulty breathing in small enclosed spaces and may experience feelings of panic or even have a full panic attack. Unfortunately as with many phobias, there is no easy description of claustrophobia.
Individuals with claustrophobia will often enter any enclosed area (such as a movie theatre) and immediately scan their surroundings for the nearest exit. They do their best to avoid small confined spaces such as elevators, basements or cellars, airplanes or even rooms with closed doors. Crowded spaces can also trigger a claustrophobic reaction as exits may be blocked and quick escape may be difficult.
Living and dealing with claustrophobia can be difficult and limiting as the individual often has to avoid certain situations and places. Working on the 10th floor of a tall building means taking 10 flights of stairs each morning to avoid the elevator, air travel may be impossible and big parties might be avoided. The good news is that as with other phobias, claustrophobia is treatable.