The chances are that we all know at least one person who has a fear of lifts (elevators), the person who looks for the stairs in a big building, is miles behind the group and often out of breath. While there is no specific phobia to describe a fear of lifts this one is fairly simple to breakdown and actually relates to at least two different phobias.
Claustrophobia is the fear of enclosed spaces which may take in crowded rooms, crowded trains or in this particular instance a lift. Unless you’ve actually suffered a claustrophobic reaction it is difficult to explain exactly what brings it on. You can imagine the pounding heart, the sweaty brow, the trembling voice and the extreme headaches. Like any other phobia claustrophobia can bring on significant anxiety issues which can then lead to an array of different physical and mental reactions.
In many ways agoraphobia can be described as the fear of losing control, you are trapped in a situation from which there is no easy escape in the event of an emergency. Common situations where you may have an agoraphobic reaction might be a packed football match where you are stuck in the middle of a crowd, a busy train where you have little or no access to an immediate exit route or maybe even a dark tunnel because when you reach halfway you could be some distance from the entry point and the exit point.
In simple terms, agoraphobia is a loss of control over the environment around you which when brought together with other phobias such as claustrophobic can be horrific.
Stay calm in a lift
How many times been told to stay calm when you have a phobia of elevators? It’s only a few floors, nothing to worry about and you will be there in no time at all. However, those who suffer from a phobia of lifts will no doubt at some point have tried to fight this phobia. Maybe you were tried using the lift between two floors? Maybe you have been a little more adventurous and gone from the ground floor up to your distant office floor?
In some ways you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t because if you are alone in the lift the fear of being trapped for a prolonged period of time can come into play. Then again, if the lift is full of people then you may feel claustrophobic and agoraphobic, a disastrous mix which can bring on a panic attack. Once your panic attack starts to kick in you need to draw on all of your mental and physical powers to bring in breathing exercises, a calming influence in your mind and just remember, there is no real danger.
Perceived and real dangers
A fear of lifts is often exacerbated by movies which very often show a lift crushing down through the lift shaft with no safety mechanism and no chance of survival. The reality is that this would not occur in everyday life because there are safety systems in place, you would not hurtle to your death and while it may be a little uncomfortable it would certainly not be life-threatening. Perhaps we need to look at movies when researching our phobia fears and how we actually think of them before we have even had a chance to experience them?
Of the people you know who have a fear of elevators how many of actually been in a lift before? Then again, if you know anybody who was a phobia have they ever faced their phobia before? Those with a fear of spiders, what exactly are they scared of? Those with a fear of non-venomous snakes what are they fearful of? The human mind is a very powerful tool and in many cases we take too much notice of the media and influences around us which can put the fear of God into many people.