How are people affected by claustrophobia in confined spaces?

Claustrophobia is a condition where individuals are fearful of being in a confined space.

Research from the National Health Service (NHS) states around 10 percent of the UK’s population is affected by a phobia at some point in their life.

What is a phobia?

The NHS describe a phobia as an overwhelming fear of an object, place, situation, feeling or animal.

In some cases, severe phobias can affect an individual’s day-to-day life causing worries or distress.

If a phobia becomes very severe, a person may organise their life around avoiding the fear making them feel anxious. As well as restricting aspects of their day-to-day life, it can also cause a lot of distress and anxiousness.

Symptoms of phobias

Often, individuals with phobias experience:

  • Dizziness, trembling and increased heart rate
  • Breathlessness
  • Nausea
  • A sense of unreality
  • Fear of dying
  • Preoccupation with the fear object


Claustrophobia is an “extreme or irrational fear of confined places”, it causes individuals to feel uneased if faced with the concern. Typically people who suffer from claustrophobia will avoid situations that trigger the fear, including public transport and lifts.

Symptoms of claustrophobia

Usually, individuals with claustrophobia will experience panic attacks the most according to the NHS. However, other symptoms can include:

  • sweating
  • trembling
  • hot flushes or chills
  • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • a choking sensation
  • rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
  • chest pain or a feeling of tightness in the chest
  • a sensation of butterflies in the stomach
  • nausea
  • headaches and dizziness
  • feeling faint
  • numbness or pins and needles
  • dry mouth
  • a need to go to the toilet
  • ringing in your ears
  • feeling confused or disorientated

In severe cases, individuals can suffer from:

  • fear of losing control
  • fear of fainting
  • feelings of dread
  • fear of dying

How does claustrophobia happen?

Usually traumatic events in a person’s life triggers claustrophobia, such as being trapped in a confined space for a prolonged period of time.

Many people have claustrophobia in the UK. Prior to asking workers to perform tasks in a restricted space, it would be useful to discover if the worker has a phobia or is claustrophobic of confined spaces.

Confined spaces are in more environments than you would believe. It is best to protect you, your workers, and others’ safety by ensuring they are properly trained and qualified to enter and work in confined spaces.

Confined Space TrainingConfined Space Training

Confined Space Services provides a range of confined space training.

Fully trained with over 20 years’ experience, specialising in confined space training, and with Site Safety Plus, NEBOSH and IOSH accreditation, you can be assured our consultants offer only the best advice and service possible.

We can carry out our confined space training either on-site throughout the UK, or at our purpose built training facility where we can provide a number of different confined space scenarios depending on your requirements.

For more information on our confined space training courses click here.

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