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Claustrophobia and Flying: Top Tips to Cure Your Fears

written by: hchristina11 • edited by: Paul Arnold • updated: 2/9/2011

If you are planning a trip and have the added concern about claustrophobia and flying, some of these easy tips can put your mind at ease.

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    Claustrophobia and flying often go together hand-in-hand, as an airplane flight is truly one of the most inescapable tight situations that presents itself in modern day life. As flying becomes more controlled because of national security concerns, and passenger jets more crowded due to budget issues, the situation will most likely not get better any time soon. An anxiety attack is the dreaded outcome for anyone who is claustrophobic, and having one at 30,000 feet in the air is, undoubtedly, a nightmare.

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    Planning

    Carefully planning your trip is the top tip to cure your fears. Often times, when you are the one in control of the majority of the small details of your itinerary, those things that might have triggered an anxiety-ridden response will come across as nothing more than a blip in your radar. Even spontaneous business trips can be thought out with special concern for your condition. When you have claustrophobic tendencies, it is important to not shop for flights solely based on price. The truth is that spending a few extra dollars can mean the difference between having enough leg room in order to be comfortable, and being squeezed into the cabin like a sardine. Talk with the airline about your problem, and more often than not, they will be familiar with your concerns and can offer suggestions. It may not be as costly as you think to be able to insure that you have enough room on your flight.

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    Seat Selection

    When it comes to choosing a seat, it is mostly preference. There are benefits and disadvantages to having a window seat or an aisle seat. Sitting next to the window helps some people because they can gaze at the scenery, and subsequently forget what is going on in the cabin around them. Window seats have the disadvantage, however, of being hard to move from. You will assuredly be excusing yourself in front of at least two other people to use the restroom. If your claustrophobia tends to be worse in social situations, this could be a deal breaker.

    An aisle seat will give you a little more space for your legs, give you easier access to your baggage overhead in case you need medication or another comfort item, and also prevent you from needing to talk to multiple people in order to go to the bathroom. Sometimes, though, when you sit in the aisle seat, you will feel as though you are in the middle of all the commotion of the flight. If you feel better being able to read a book, or look out the window, then an aisle seat may not be for you.

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    Talk to a Professional

    If claustrophobia and flying has caused you significant problems in the past, one of the most important tips is making the time to talk to your doctor before your trip. While many people feel nervous about taking an anxiolytic before flying for varyious reasons, medication is one way to be reasonably sure that your anxiety will be kept within an acceptable level. Your doctor may also be able to refer you to someone that can teach you some visualization exercises proven to be effective for the condition.

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    Epigee: Claustrophobia. - http://www.epigee.org/mental_health/claustrophobia.html

    Medical News Today: What is Claustrophobia? - http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/37062.php

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