February 22, 2024

Mri claustrophobia panic attack

What is MRI Claustrophobia?

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a non-invasive procedure used to diagnose various medical conditions. It can help to identify abnormalities in the body, including tumors, aneurysms, and stroke. Unfortunately, for some people, the MRI experience can be frightening and even cause panic attacks. This is known as MRI claustrophobia.

What Causes MRI Claustrophobia?

The main cause of MRI claustrophobia is fear of enclosed spaces. During an MRI, the patient is enclosed in a narrow tube with loud noises. This can be a very frightening experience for some people, leading to feelings of panic and claustrophobia.

Symptoms of MRI Claustrophobia

The most common symptoms of MRI claustrophobia include anxiety, fear, and panic. Other symptoms can include shortness of breath, increased heart rate, sweating, and dizziness.

Treatment for MRI Claustrophobia

There are a few treatment options for people who suffer from MRI claustrophobia.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on identifying and changing negative thoughts and behaviors. It can help people to better understand their fear of enclosed spaces and learn how to cope with it.

Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation can help to reduce anxiety and panic. These techniques can be used both before and during an MRI to help the patient remain calm.


In some cases, medication may be prescribed to help reduce anxiety and panic. These medications are usually only used as a last resort, as they can have serious side effects.

Preventing MRI Claustrophobia

There are a few things that can be done to help prevent MRI claustrophobia:

  • Talking to your doctor or technician about your fears.
  • Bringing a friend or family member to the appointment.
  • Listening to music or an audiobook during the scan.
  • Using relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation.


MRI claustrophobia is a common fear that can cause panic and anxiety during an MRI scan. Fortunately, there are treatments available to help people cope with this fear. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, relaxation techniques, and medication can all help to reduce anxiety and panic. It is also important to talk to your doctor or technician about your fears and to take steps to prevent MRI claustrophobia.

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