Stenophobia: The Fear of Narrow Places

Stenophobia: The Fear of Narrow Places

Stenophobia is a word used to describe the morbid fear of narrow spaces. The word steno is of Greek origin (meaning narrow) and the word phobia is also of Greek origin (meaning fear).

Stenophobia falls under the category of specific phobia, and this article will tell you all there is to know about the causes, symptoms, and treatment of fear of narrow spaces.

Causes of Stenophobia

It is a generally accepted fact that phobias usually arise from a combination of internal predisposition and external events.

Many specific phobias can easily be traced back to a particular triggering event, most often a traumatic experience at an early stage in life. Social phobias as well as agoraphobia causes that are more complex and are not fully known at this time.

It is strongly believed that genetics, heredity, and brain chemistry as well as life-experiences play a major role in the development of phobias.

Symptoms of Stenophobia

  • As with any other phobia that exists, the symptoms of Stenophobia vary by person and it depends on the level of their fear. The symptoms of Stenophobia typically include:
  • Extreme dread
  • Anxiety, and anything associated with panic
  • Rapid breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Excessive sweating
  • Sweating
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Shaking and inability to articulate words or sentences.


For many people who are living with the fear of narrow places or things – Stenophobia, they do not always feel the need to get treatment because they can simply avoid the object of their fear.

This possibility of avoidance gives people dealing with Stenophobia a feeling of control over the problem they are dealing with. But sometimes, it may not be possible to easily avoid narrow places or things .

It is very important for someone with a phobia to always seek professional help when they can. This way you do not get worse, lose time, and you get to do a better job at understanding what is happening to you. With a clear understanding of the nature of your phobia, you can then move on to overcoming your morbid fear of narrow things or places.

While most phobias can be cured, it is essential to know that there is no single treatment designed for treating all of them, or treatment that is guaranteed to work.

It mainly depends on the person who suffers the phobia and the severity of the fear being experienced. There are some cases where a combination of treatments might be the most effective option.

Please be advised that if you have a phobia, you should not take any form of treatment on your own! Always ensure that you consult with a doctor before you start any treatment.

The treatments that are mentioned below are strictly for informational purposes and are not specific to the treatment of Stenophobia. The treatments below are used on most cases of phobia.

Talking Treatments for Stenophobia

Talking treatments also known as talk therapies, which often includes counselling, may be a very effective method for the treatment of fear of narrow places or places (Stenophobia).

Talking therapies are a good option for many people are they are very laid back forms of treatment and physically non-intrusive.

It often involves talking to a proficient and highly trained professional about your feelings, thoughts, and behavior. There is a wide range of talking therapy, but all of them aim to:

  • Help you to recognize patterns that are unhelpful and unhealthy in the way you act or think, and find ways to change these patterns (if you are willing to do so).
  • Help you to resolve any complicated feelings, or work out possible ways to live with them
  • Help you to ultimately make sense of things and also understand yourself better
  • Provide you with a safe time and place to talk to a person who will make you feel comfortable and not judge you

In most cases, talking therapies are the same as counseling therapy, psychological therapy, psychotherapy, talking treatment. There is often very little difference between what a person meant when talking about any of the aforementioned.

(CBT) Cognitive behavioral therapy

CBT treatments are one of the most used methods of treatment for phobias. It stands on the concept that what we may think and perceive is often influencing our behavior.

Experiencing distress and anxiety are, in some cases bending and distorting a person’s perception over reality. Cognitive behavioral therapy has the ultimate goal to identify if these thoughts are an accurate depiction of the reality of things.

In a situation where they are not, this method of treatment employs strategies to both challenge and overcome these incorrect thoughts and behaviors.

For instance, when a person is experiencing Stenophobia, with the help of Cognitive behavioral therapy, the person could identify if the anxiety and fear experienced from narrow places or things is an accurate depiction of reality.

And if it is not, they must work on ways to change that.

Medication for fear of narrow places

Medication should never be taken without first asking a doctor first. Generally speaking, medication is not recommended for treating or overcoming phobias.

Therapies such as CBT have been found to be a definitive way to deal with fears. However, certain types of medication may be prescribed as a short term treatment or solutions to the side effects of various phobias, which include depression or anxiety.

There are generally three types of medication recommended for the treatment of anxieties.

  • Beta-blockers
  • Antidepressants
  • Tranquillizers

Self-help with Stenophobia

One of the easiest or most reasonable ways to overcome any challenges or to be well prepare if any problems might arise in life is to pay attention to oneself and health.

Being able to know how to control and help yourself is important not only to be able to manage your fear of narrow places or things but also other anxieties and phobias before they get more severe.

Note that getting help for the treatment of any phobia is essential and should only be done when you have access to a trusted mental health professionall.

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