The fear of elevators may not have a clearly defined name, but we’ll use the term Claustophobia in this article. This phobia is essentially the fear of being trapped or placed in an enclosed area.
The fear of elevators exists using two primary fears. The first is the fear of enclosed spaces (Claustrophobia) and the fear of heights (Acrophobia). These are two separate, yet potent fears. If not dealt with the ensuing fear-based results can be dangerous.
The Causes of Elevator Fear
Elevators do not generally have the capacity for a large number of passengers. They also are often filled to near capacity. This can provide a near strangling sensation in those who express a phobia in this scenario.
The causes may be traced back to a time when the individual was trapped or felt trapped. This can provide an incredible sense of control loss and may even result in rage expressed by the one who has this fear.
The ride itself can be problematic for sufferers because there is the physical sensation of being physically elevated or lowered and there is no way to see if the machinery is operating properly. A nominally controlled fear can escalate quickly in this situation.
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Watching for Fear Signals
One of the primary signals can be a sense of vertigo. The height fear component can bring about a sense of spinning that leaves individuals feeling panic.
Other symptoms of this fear include…
- A rise in body temperature
- The feeling of being violated
- Elevated heart rate
- Loss of bodily functions in severe cases
- Subject may hyperventilate
Where many individuals may think that elevators are simply a means of bypassing the stairs those who suffer with this fear can conclude they are risking their very lives riding in an elevator. They can’t be reasoned out of the fear even if they can agree that there is likely nothing to be afraid of.
Overcoming the Fear of Elevators
Because there are two fears at work in Clautophobia it may make sense to take a look at how each are treated.
Claustrophobia Support groups are a great idea for anyone who suffers from a phobia. However, with claustrophobia it may not be enough. In many cases those who suffer from this fear are helped by taking anti-anxiety medications while working through various therapy sessions that treat all aspects of the fear including emotional, physical and psychological.
Acrophobia Behavior therapy and medications can also work to alleviate some of the fear associated with heights. Desensitization therapy is also used in the company of a therapist to help the individual find a sense of safety while addressing their fears.
Sometimes overplaying the safety measures provided can actually serve to confirm in the mind of the one who fears that they were right to be afraid. This may actually be counterproductive to a healthy recovery.
The fear of elevators is common. Those who fear escalators may not fear elevators or they might fear both. Many malls compensate by providing more than one method to access different floors in their building.
You can overcome your fear. I know it may not seem possible when you feel confined and panicked, but there is help and seeking that help should not serve to embarrass you, but to help you break free from the bondage of your fear.