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Mr James Hendrik is a successful businessman who travels often. Unfortunately, he spends too much time traveling from one place to another when he could save time and money by just taking the right form of transportation. Mr James Hendrik is one of those few who suffers from claustrophobia and would simply refuse to enter an airplane to fly to different parts of the world. Luckily for him, he lives in an era where one does not have to be physically at a location to be able to do business with others.

Claustrophobia is an anxiety disorder in which someone has an intense and irrational fear of confined or enclosed spaces. This means that a person who suffers from it finds being in an airplane, for example, a really frightening experience.

Symptoms of claustrophobia may include excessive sweating, accelerated heart rate, hyperventilation, and nausea. Sometimes, sufferers might also feel faint, shake uncontrollably, and suffer a genuine fear of actual harm or illness even though in reality, there is none.

How do you know if you are a sufferer? Do you always look for emergency exits when you enter unfamiliar places? Do you stay near doors ready to escape? Or do you find closed-up spaces like a room without a window or having all doors shuts, particularly disturbing? Maybe, just maybe, you are suffering from claustrophobia.

What can cause claustrophobia? This irrational fear of enclosed spaces can develop from either a traumatic childhood experience, like being trapped in a small space during a childhood game, or from other unpleasant experiences later on in life involving confined spaces, such as being stuck in an elevator.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for claustrophobia. However, a sufferer can take charge of his life by undergoing treatment that can help them control their fear. Treatment for claustrophobia can include behavior therapy, exposure therapy, drugs, or a combination of several treatments.

When one applies behavior therapy, one must point and recognize one's reactions to the things that trigger the anxiety in the first place. Then, through visualization and positive thinking, one must learn to disassociate the feelings of danger with the confined space.

Another type of treatment is to flood the individual with the situation over and over again until the anxiety attack passes. The sufferer is taught to visualize and relax even before he is introduced to the trigger situation. This is in the hope that the sufferer would eventually be immune to it.

Doctors can also prescribe medications to help treat claustrophobia. This includes anti-depressants and beta-blockers, which help to relieve the heart pounding often associated with anxiety attacks.

Sometimes, a claustrophobic may be exposed to regression hypnotherapy. It is a kind of therapy that encourages the individual to remember the traumatic event once again and then, instead of getting frightened by it, he is taught to see the event in a 'mature' way. This may help to decrease the sense of panic in the person.

With all the treatments listed, it is still hard to be free from this learnt response. If a sufferer believes that he is going to be forever plagued with the fear, then it is already a battle lost. No doctors can help him.

It is important to decide that if one is going to get better, one has to deal with this condition in an energetic and systematic manner. However long it takes, whatever it takes in terms of effort and determination, one is sure to be able to break free!

Remember, claustrophobia is a learnt condition and anything that has been learnt, can always be unlearnt.

Answer the following questions using complete sentences
  1. Why is it still possible for Mr James Hendrik to be able to carry out his business successfully even though he may not be physically around ?
  2. What is claustrophobia ?
  3. Name two things a claustrophobic does when he is in an unfamiliar surrounding.
  4. According to the passage, how does one get affected by claustrophobia ?
  5. What are the three basic treatments suggested in the passage ?
  6. Explain what happens when a sufferer goes through exposure therapy.
  7. 'Another type of treatment is to flood the individual with the situation over and over again'. Explain the meaning of 'flood' here.
  8. What do the prescribed drugs do to claustrophobics ?
  9. How can claustrophobics help doctors free them from this irrational fear ?
  10. What can be done with a learnt condition ?
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He does not have to be physically around as there are modern gadgets and technology that can help him with his business.


Claustrophobia is an anxiety disorder where a person has an intense and unexplainable fear of enclosed spaces.


He will look for emergency exits or stay near doors hoping to quickly escape.


One gets affected by claustrophobia through a traumatic childhood experience or from other unpleasant experiences that are related to confined space.


They are behavior therapy, exposure therapy, and drugs.
  6. A sufferer will be exposed to a trigger situation in the hope that sooner or later he would eventually be immune to it.
  7. It means to be exposed continuously.
  8. They relax the pounding heart and make the claustrophobics calmer.
  9. They must be convinced and believe that they can free themselves.
  10. A learnt condition can always be unlearnt.

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Comprehension 1


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