Panic fear of elevators is a psychopathological disorder. In particular, the fear affects the lives of people who live or work on the upper floors of high-rise buildings. It becomes extremely difficult for them to get to the apartment or office. So why does the fear of using elevators occurs and how to deal with the problem?
Causes of the Fear
There may be several reasons why a person refuses to use an elevator at the slightest pretext and sometimes even avoids talking about it.
- Claustrophobia. In this disorder a person is afraid of any close spaces. Claustrophobic panic occurs not only in the elevator – a wave of anxiety can overtake a person even in the barber chair or in a small bathroom.
- Childhood trauma. Some parents tend to escalate situations when raising a child or simply communicating with him/her. They use words lightly, without thinking that children perceive everything much more seriously. So, the child could hear from the mother or father something like “Come in quickly, or the elevator doors will crush you” or “Do not get in alone, or you will get stuck and no one will come to the rescue.” Such statements frighten children and are deposited deep in their subconscious, which subsequently leads to mental disorders, such as panic fear of using elevators.
- An instinctive manifestation. There is a theory that says that any fears are reactions of an innate nature. At the genetic level, a person has an understanding that there are more chances to survive in the free space. As a rule, most people react to this adequately. The manifestation of unhealthy reactions is associated with the peculiarities of the psyche and with a certain combination of circumstances.
- The traumatic experience. In many cases, the fear of getting into elevators develops as a result of experienced negative events. For example, a person could got stuck in an elevator for a long time or hear a shocking story on this topic. The risk of developing fear is very high, if during the movement in the elevator cabin a person’s health deteriorates, or he/she experiences psychological stress.
Other reasons are:
- neurotic disorders;
- genetic predisposition;
- behavioral inheritance (in children);
- organic brain disease.
Whatever is the cause of the disease, its symptoms are in most cases the same. When being in the elevator or several minutes before it comes, the patient shows such signs as shortness of breath, increased heart rate, a feeling of suffocation and compression in the neck, increased blood pressure, dizziness, fever or chills, trembling in the body and limbs.
How to Combat the Fear?
To eliminate the irrational fear of being in elevators, you need to contact a therapist. The main psychotherapeutic method of phobias elimination is cognitive-behavioral therapy. The patient is also prescribed medication (antidepressants, tranquilizers) to help cope with the manifestation of anxiety and reduce the feeling of fear. If the degree of the fear is not too high, meditation techniques, breathing exercises, neuromuscular relaxation can help. An excellent tool is autogenic training, which has a positive impact on the psychological and somatic well-being of a person. You can try to study them yourself. Autogenic techniques will help to relieve emotional stress, relieve anxiety, increase efficiency and improve mood. Take a comfortable position, close your eyes and relax as much as possible. Then say the following phrases:
- I’m relaxed and calm;
- My face, my arms and legs are relaxed and filled with warmth;
- I feel warm all over my body;
- My heart is calm;
- There are no hard thoughts in my head;
- I love life;
- I live in harmony with myself and with other people;
- I get rid of my fears;
- I feel safe;
- I am confident and feel good;
- I can handle any problem.
You can achieve positive changes in 4 weeks, provided that exercises are held regularly. Exercises should be performed three times a day: in the morning, during the day and before going to bed. The duration of training should be at least 10-15 minutes. When pronouncing the phrases, one should also present vivid images. When the exercise is over, you need some time to sit quietly, then take a deep breath, open your eyes and exhale deeply.
Sometimes, people who know nothing about phobic disorders, blame those who are afraid of using elevators in excessive sensitivity and childish demeanor. But things are much more serious. Irrational fear of elevators is a mental disorder and a person simply could not cope with it without the help of a specialist. Experiencing uncontrollable fears, people are often aware of the irrationality of their behavior, but still they cannot behave differently. Everyone should understand it.