If you have claustrophobia, you will go to extreme lengths to avoid small spaces and confined situations that may trigger your panic and anxiety. You will avoid places like the underground and prefer to take the stairs rather than a lift even if many floors are involved. Other places that are normally avoided are changing rooms in stores, public toilets, automatic car washers, basements and cellars even MRI scanners.
When anxiety reaches a certain level the following symptoms may be experienced: sweating, accelerated heart rate, increase in blood pressure, dizziness, fainting, dry mouth, nausea and hyperventilation to name a few.
Conventional psychotherapy has been used extensively to help patients overcome their claustrophobia specifically using CBT, relaxation and exposure therapy. This has proven difficult in the past as many patients are reluctant to address their fears in the real world and will take every possible step to avoid confrontation with any anxiety-inducing triggers.
At the VRIT clinic, we use virtual reality immersive therapy to build a safe and measured environment to gradually expose you to situations that would normally have triggered this fear. Under the guidance of our trained therapists, you will learn how to understand and readjust your response over time to ultimately improve your quality of life and achieve your goals.
Evidence is growing to support that VRIT is particularly well-suited for treating claustrophobia quickly and effectively. Real-time exposure is complex and expensive, and the process can rarely be repeated consistently. That is why until now psychotherapists have relied on imagination exposure, although it is also ineffective as it depends on each person’s ability to imagine the relevant situation.
Virtual reality enables the psychotherapist to offer a safe environment while providing a realistic and accessible experience within the treatment room. At the VRIT clinic, our therapists combine VR with other innovations, such as bio-feedback, to design the most effective treatment programme for you.