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Claustrophobia Essay

1679 words - 7 pages

Claustrophobia is defined by Psychology Wiki, as an anxiety disorder that involves the fear of enclosed or confined spaces. Claustrophobe’s may suffer from panic attacks, or fear of having a panic attack, in situations such as being in elevators, trains or aircrafts. Well, how about Hyperbaric Chambers, MRI machines and many other medical necessities that are a critical part of the ability to adequately diagnose and treat patients.
I am a Licensed Practical Nurse with my certificate in hyperbaric medicine and I currently work in a Hyperbaric Medicine Clinic and am faced with this fear from patients almost daily. Most of our patients can “get through” the treatments fairly well by ...view middle of the document...

After an amputation, many people fall into an accelerated rate of decline, with 70% dying within five years, or having a second or third amputation, according to the National Institutes of Health.
So imagine your doctor telling you all this, then imagine him telling you that all you have to do to improve your chance of salvaging your limbs by 78%-89%, is to get into a chamber that is roughly the size of am MRI machine, and in some cases bigger, that has a clear acrylic window you can see out of more than 180 degrees all around. Not only that but you will also have cool, fresh oxygen circulating throughout the whole treatment with the ability to communicate at any time with a nurse, if you want, or you can just lay back and relax while watching TV or a movie of your choice. Most people would say “sign me up” , “anything to save my leg”. Then there are that select few however, that would take the life of additional problems facing amputation, serious illness from infection and possibly even death, for one reason and one reason only…claustrophobia.
Lots of people suffer from claustrophobia, for some it only causes a mild discomfort but for others the result can lead to debilitating panic attacks. Most symptoms people may experience are sweating, accelerated heartbeat, shaking, hyperventilation, light-headedness, fainting and or, a fear of actual imminent physical harm.
Many claustrophobe’s describe their fear as being more a result of a perceived inability to escape. This is perhaps one reason why many claustrophobe’s are fine in a particular room until someone closes the door or a particular window. You will find them sitting close to doors, avoiding confined spaces and situations that may bring on an attack. This may in turn effect their social life by not getting on that airplane to go on vacation with family or friends and declining invites to certain parties depending on setup of houses or certain places.
Fear is an important survival mechanism, but once in a while the wires get crossed and we learn a fear response for something where it doesn't belong and Claustrophobia or other phobias can develop. People with Claustrophobia can generally think back to their first claustrophobic experience. They may remember a traumatic event, or just remember an urgent sense of panic when not being able to breathe. Not every person is the same. Some main causes of claustrophobia may be from a single traumatic incident, most often occurring as a child. For example, my boss has a huge claustrophobia issue, therefore she is unable to go into our chambers, even our large 12 man chamber with our patients (yes, I know, an odd profession to take as a claustrophobe). She associates her claustrophobia with a traumatic childhood experience when her dad held her under a blanket and started tickling her. At that point she freaked out and her dad made it a point to torment her with it as much as he possibly could. She said...

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