Caving claustrophobia is a psychological condition suffered by those who go caving. It occurs when the caver is inside a tight space and has to pass through a tight spot where there is no room for the person’s torso, only his head and feet protruding from either side of the rock. This is precisely when caving claustrophobia sets in and it can cause heart attacks, panic attacks or a feeling of being stuck.
Caving claustrophobia was not known to the public until a study carried out by a group of biologists who happened to have all suffered from this condition met and talked about their experiences. Like most cavers, they thought that caving claustrophobia was just a bad dream and shared the bitter experience of having gone through it with their fellow cavers after coming out of such spots.
The psychologists who were studying them asked the group if there were any common psychological factors between them and everyone agreed that they hated being stuck in a tight spot.
They all had suffered from caving claustrophobia at least once and this was the breakthrough that psychologists needed to understand how it could affect people’s decision-making abilities, judgment and trustworthiness. They found out that those who were affected by caving claustrophobia tended to be more aggressive and less able to make decisions and that their judgment was severely impaired. They also took longer than usual to trust others and tended not to be as truthful as they normally were, especially with those closest to them.
This led psychologists to the conclusion that this condition made it difficult for people trapped in such spots to trust or even believe what others were saying. It also affected a person’s ability to think clearly and make decisions on the spot.
The biologists who had suffered from caving claustrophobia agreed to take part in a test where they were confronted with a tight spot inside the cave. Some of them went through it successfully, while others were stuck inside it for hours until their fellow cavers pulled them out. Those who were not stuck asked the others how they felt when they were in that spot, and most of them agreed that they felt just like in a nightmare where they couldn’t move or breathe.
Most of the people who have suffered from caving claustrophobia have overcome it after being stuck in one tight spot for some time. The psychologists hope that one day there will be some way to treat people who suffer from caving claustrophobia, but they are still looking for more information on the issue.
Tips For Getting Over Claustrophobia While Caving
While caving may be an exciting activity, some people cannot go through tight spots without suffering from severe anxiety. Claustrophobia is the general term used to refer to the fear of closed or tight spaces. If you are claustrophobic but would still like to enjoy the experience of caving then there are several things that you can do to make it a more pleasant experience.
Practice breathing exercises before going caving. This will help you stay calm and keep your mind occupied, rather than thinking about how closed in you feel. Furthermore, having good control over your breathing relieves the symptoms of anxiety associated with claustrophobia as well as panic attacks.
Practice meditation before going caving. Meditating is similar to practicing breathing exercises in that you will be using your mind to focus on something other than how closed in you feel. It has also been known to help ease the symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks.
Take a friend with you when caving who does not suffer from claustrophobia or who has not been very affected by it. This way you will have someone who understands what you are going through and will be able to comfort you while waiting for your panic attack or anxiety to subside.
Remember that the tight spots in a cave are there for a reason, whether it is because it is where certain formations can be seen or because of the path that the cave takes. If there is a tight spot in a cave where you have to pass through, try to remember why it is necessary and remind yourself of this fact when you start feeling anxious about being closed in.
Remember that tight spaces are not forever and that they will end soon enough. Imagine how much worse it would be for you to be stuck in a tight spot for hours or even days on end. If you are stuck somewhere, do not panic because it will make your distress worse and may lead to an accident, injury or even death.
If none of these tips help with getting over your claustrophobia while caving, then you should try telling the person leading the tour before heading out what your issues are. This way you will be given time to talk about it and soothe any anxieties rather than being forced to face them when you are already stressed.
How do you calm down a claustrophobic person While Caving?
It may not be easy to calm down a claustrophobic person while caving, but there are some things that you can do. It is best if your partner knows what to do in case you suffer from this condition so make sure they know about it.
- If they start showing signs of panic, talk them through the process to calm them down.
- Do not touch or push them in any way. This may only make things worse so let someone else handle them if you are not sure what to do.
- If they are unable to calm down, get them out of the cave regardless of what they say. It is their health that you have to take into consideration, not their feelings. Once they get some fresh air they will most likely feel better and be able to continue on with you.