How to Solve Claustrophobia and Anxiety for CPAP Users

A variety of CPAP masks suitable for those suffering from claustrophobia and anxiety are available. The best CPAP mask is deemed to be that which matches the particular needs of the patient while offering the proper amount of pressure to keep your airway open. For some people, the best mask is the one that is comfortable and reduces the fear of wearing mask. Below is a description of claustrophobia and how to deal with it.

What is Claustrophobia?

Mask panic attackSome CPAP users experience a can’t wear CPAP mask panic attack. That is claustrophobia. The word claustrophobia is made of two words. A Latin word ‘claustrum’ that means “a shut-in place” and the Greek word phobos, meaning “fear.” Therefore, claustrophobia is the fear of being confined in a small space or room and having no escape. This often leads to panic attacks and is typically classified as an anxiety disorder. On the other hand, face mask claustrophobia is the fear of wearing a mask, since once feels like restricted and suffocating.

Fear of Suffocation

When people are beginning to use a CPAP machine, they will often say – “I feel like I’m suffocating with my CPAP”! However, that can only be attributed to face mask claustrophobia. Since claustrophobic patients develop a fear of suffocation, wearing a CPAP mask that covers their nose or mouth may be hard for them.

It still may feel like suffocation even when the pressurized air comes out of the hose into the mask. What you should know is that CPAP masks are designed to put air into you, and therefore suffocation is not possible. Moreover, CPAP companies are now creating masks that address these claustrophobic symptoms.

Dealing with Fear

Sleep claustrophobia is an illogical and irrational fear that one may experience while sleeping with a CPAP. Even though this phobia is an excessive fear of wearing a CPAP mask, there are best approaches to solving it. You can start with naming and facing your fear. That takes away some of its power.

CPAP claustrophobia

  • What kind of fears do you experience when you try to sleep with the CPAP mask?
  • Is it troublesome to have something on your face?
  • Did you have a bad experience with CPAP before?
  • Are the mask straps holding the CPAP mask to your face in your line of sight?
  • Does the weight of the CPAP mask trouble you?
  • Did you try on a CPAP mask, and you could not breathe, causing you to have a panic attack?

If you can identify what makes you fearful about the mask or CPAP machine, you can deal with it without hesitation. If it proves futile, you can consult your doctor or CPAP therapist.

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