Imagine being on an elevator, when all of a sudden, you are overcome with the sensation of extreme anxiety and breathlessness. This is what many Americans experience every time they are on an elevator. Phobia-fear-release.com states that about 5.2 million American adults suffer from some form of phobia. While the exact numbers for elevator phobia are unknown, it is a very real issue that is relatively common, and strikes fear in the hearts of many every single day.
What Is Elevator Phobia?
The fear of elevators is an interesting one because it essentially combines many fears, Agoraphobia, Acrophobia and Claustrophobia, into one. Claustrophobia is the fear of enclosed spaces, while Acrophobia focuses on a fear of heights. Agoraphobia is when you experience a sense of panic when you’re in a situation you cannot control. Those with elevator phobia may also experience a form social anxiety, as a result of all of the people pressed against them in the elevator. All of these phobias combined, it’s the perfect recipe for a disaster.
Symptoms of Elevator Phobia
Those who suffer from elevator phobia experience a variety of symptoms, including nausea, loss of breath, extreme shaking, mouth dryness, sweating and feelings of helplessness or loss of self-control. This is on the lower end of the spectrum. On the higher end, people report an inability to think with a clear head, a detachment from reality, anxiety attacks or, even worse, fear of death.
Fortunately, elevator phobia is treatable. You have a few options that you can explore. Try one, or a combination of these if necessary.
- Keep Yourself Busy – Many people have reported success when they have found ways to distract themselves. Bring reading material with you. You can also play games on your phone, or count the tiles on the ground. The idea is to keep yourself so busy, that you won’t have time to think about anything other than the thing you’re doing to distract yourself.
- See a Therapist – A therapist is great because they can help identify the root cause of the issue. Once you can identify what led to the fear in the first place, then you will begin to realize that the elevator is no longer a threat to you. The therapist will help come up with solutions that will allow you to feel more comfortable in the long term.
- Hypnosis – You can either go to a professional hypnotist, who will help lead you through a session, or you can download or purchase hypnosis CDs that you can listen to on your own.
- Practice Mindfulness Techniques – Visualizing and deep breathing are all powerful tools to help you overcome this fear. One technique, in particular, the Calm Scene Technique, is one in which you picture yourself in a calm, peaceful, serene scene, such as a beach, or a garden for example, each time you are about to step on to the elevator. If you have a hard time visualizing, look at picture of something that you find relaxing. You should also do this on your free time at home, while practicing deep breathing. The more times you do this, your brain will eventually start to associate the elevator as a peaceful place.
It can be embarrassing to admit that you may be suffering from a phobia. However, don’t allow yourself to suffer alone. Take the time to educate yourself on the fear, and seek whatever help you can. There are options available, and you deserve to have a better quality of life.