Whilst the majority of us have no problem using elevators in our day to day lives, there are some people out there that suffer from phobias that prevent them from using lifts.
But what is it about them that causes such panic and fear that people can break out in an anxious sweat just thinking about them? Is it the thought of falling, or being trapped, or having to spend uncomfortable silences with strangers rocking some ghastly body odour?
Claustrophobia is a fear that affects a lot of people and whilst it’s not a fear of elevators, it stops people from being able to use lifts as they suffer from a fear of small tight spaces. Being in an elevator car can cause sufferers to feel as though the walls are closing in, which can ultimately lead to a panic attack.
Those with agoraphobia are scared of being in a situation that they cannot easily escape from. This is another variation of feeling trapped that can occur when being in a lift. If a lift breaks down, passengers can be stuck for a number of hours until they can be rescued. For most agoraphobia sufferers the risk of this happening isn’t worth it.
Confronting An Elevator
The worst nightmare of anyone living with one of these fears is being confronted with a lift. Some buildings are too high to use the stairs so multiple lifts may be necessary to reach certain floors (unless they wish to spend all day walking flights of stairs).
Those with fears that have to face a lift will begin to feel extreme anxiety. They will often shake, sweat and in extreme cases, even pass out.
What causes these fears?
These fears can appear for a number of reasons, the most common occur through:
- Traumatic incidents involving elevators. Maybe the person was once stuck in a lift.
- Being crammed into a lift with a lot of people and suddenly feeling overwhelmed.
- Being trapped in another tight space which causes claustrophobia.
Sometimes fears can be so severe that people are unable to use even small platform lifts. Some people receive therapy for their phobias whilst others may simply choose to avoid lifts forever.