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About Claustrophobia

The Insight Into Anxiety

Listening to our patients, has given us insight into anxiety and claustrophobia.  Claustrophobia is fear of confined spaces.  But to those who experience that anxiety, it’s much more.   Patients affected experience symptoms such as sweating, trembling, hot or cold flushes, difficulty breathing, with rapid heartbeat, tightness in the chest, nausea, feeling faint, confusion, tinnitus, and panic attacks.  Before having an MRI some people get strong feelings of anxiety that manifest in to physical symptoms, so it has made us reevaluate our strategy for a successful appointment. 

First and most importantly, it is critical that we realize, that claustrophobia is a real, and not a made up condition, that it’s more common than many may think.  Acknowledging it, and addressing it directly in a friendly and understanding manor is key.  While scheduling patients for their exam, we notice that they are used to people not listening or taking them seriously when they mention “mild claustrophobia”.  We LISTEN!   If severe claustrophobia is indicated, we may even open up on a weekend for a single patient, so that we can spend the needed time and TLC with the patient that needs more help to get through the MRI.

Some of the techniques we use at our center, is first to acknowledge it and plan extra time to the appointment to help the patient prepare.  We allow family member or friend to stay in the MRI suite with the patient for support during exam.  We can reach out to the doctor before the appointment to request medication if needed for the patient.  When we are able, we will enter the patient into our machine feet first, so that we can make the adjustment less traumatic.  We offer aromatherapy, music, blindfold or prism glasses to help the patient see outside of the machine.  We use positive reinforcement, and when patients successfully complete the MRI, we have a freezer full of ice cream to reward them with.  We invite you to come and meet our friendly staff at Gainesville High Field MRI.  Let us have the opportunity to show you how we are different.