Saturday, July 14, 2012

Claustrophobia and the cpap mask

One problem about the CPAP mask that I haven’t heard much about is claustrophobia. The CPAP mask can be cumbersome for most at the beginning because it is so unnatural to have a mask on your face while you are sleeping. I wrote about my experiences in an earlier post. But for some the problems might be a little more frightening.

Claustrophobia is a panic disorder that causes anxiety from the fear of enclosed places. Most sufferers fear the lack of movement that a tightly enclosed place puts them in or they fear a lack of oxygen. Training the patients to identify their fears and change their behaviors is the most common treatments.

Sleep Apnea patients who are claustrophobic due to their cpap mask can find relief by wearing the mask during the day for a few hours to get adjusted to the feel and the sound of the machine. They can also try out nasal pillows where tubes are inserted into the nostrils without having any straps on their face. Relaxation exercises might also be tried to control the anxiety of the CPAP mask.

Feel free to comment and please subscribe to my RSS Feed


  1. My husband is claustrophobic and he was diagnosed with OSA when we visited this Memphis Sleep Apnea clinic. We got CPAP and I will try your tip. Thanks for sharing, David.

  2. I got my CPAP yesterday and cannot wear the nose mask. I get very anxious and I guess claustrophobic. A clinic rep suggested I wear the mask while watching TV during the day. A friend swears by the nasal pillows but the rep did not suggest the nasal pillows, something to do with exhaling.

  3. Hi Mark,
    I didn't find the nose mask very comfortable either. I also tried to wear it during the day while watching tv and it didn't help much.
    Unfortunately a doctor told me that nasal pillows wouldn't help me because my sleep apnea was too severe.
    I hope it works for you.
    thanks for commenting

  4. Yes, a lot of people suffer from this at first, but normally get acclimatised to it eventually. Check out this video on our forum for claustrophobia help:-

  5. Thanks Kath,
    for the comment and the video!