Claustrophobia is the irrational fear of confined spaces.

It's normal to fear being trapped when there's a genuine threat, but people with claustrophobia become fearful in situations where there's no obvious or realistic danger.

They'll go out of their way to avoid confined spaces, such as lifts, tunnels, tube trains andpublic toilets (see below for a full list). However, avoiding these places often reinforces the fear.

Some people with claustrophobia experience mild Generalised anxiety disorder when in a confined space, while others have severe anxiety or a panic attack . The most common experience is a feeling or fear of losing control.

It's estimated that around 10% of the UK population are affected by claustrophobia during their lifetime.

This topic covers:

Triggers of claustrophobia

Symptoms of claustrophobia

What causes claustrophobia?

Treating claustrophobia

Coping with a panic attack

Help and support

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 28 Nov 2016