Claustrophobia is an anxiety disorder – it’s a phobia of enclosed spaces and it affects quite a few of our patients who opt for the open MRI, which is much wider than a traditional ‘tunnel’ scanner.
We asked our patients for tips on how to cope with claustrophobia and came up with some advice for overcoming the phobia of small spaces:
Learn to meditate
Focusing on your response to claustrophobia and not on the phobia itself can make a huge difference.
Think about it: when you are having claustrophobic feelings, you’re either thinking about the worst possible outcome or focusing on the idea that you are currently experiencing an anxiety attack. With meditation, you can train your mind to relax and concentrate on other things. If you meditate daily, you will eventually be able to control your anxiety and thoughts better.
Exercise at least three times a week
We are sure you have heard of this before, but exercise works wonders. Daily exercising stimulates the production of endorphins and can reduce anxiety, ease muscle tension and finally decrease your sensitivity to anxiety.
Before you skip this step just read this: Avoiding your phobia just reinforces it and keeps it strong.
People that avoid the situations that they fear cannot overcome their phobia or make any progress. Facing your fear doesn’t have to be the worst possible claustrophobic situation you can think of, you can start with something easy and slowly build up your confidence.
Anti-anxiety medication and counselling has helped many people with severe panic attacks. Medication can help reduce symptoms and counselling will help you learn how to overcome claustrophobia.
Hypnotic therapy focuses on treating the root cause of your fear in the unconscious mind while you are calm and relaxed. Hypnosis can change the way you feel about specific situations and the therapist can eventually make you see claustrophobia in a more positive context.
Always consult your doctor before trying any new treatments!
Out open MRI scanner is ideal for patients that are claustrophobic or nervous. Our MRI scanner is double the width of a traditional scanner and has no walls. It’s completely open from both sides so the patient can see everything around them.
The MRI scanner is also much quieter than a traditional MRI scanner which offers a more relaxing experience. Newcastle Clinic accepts NHS referrals for claustrophobic patients, and you can also bring your friend to hold your hand throughout the scan.
Please contact us to find out more about our open MRI or if you need more information on how to request a referral.