Top 5 ways to relieve
And here's our number one technique chosen in part for many long term reasons:
COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY (CBT)
Okay, while the very first and even second coping mechanisms we listed (drugs and more drugs) may have been quick, temporary 'fixes', this one goes in the completely opposite direction. And hopefully more permanent.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is much more of a longer term solution. Done correctly, it is believed to be the one treatment most likely to relieve the actual claustrophobia most over the long term.
CBT is an approach that involves learning to control the thoughts that occur when confronted with the fear-inducing situation in such a way as to change the reaction.
So how do you actually do it? Well you'll need some professional help to take you through the complete process and do it right but simply put it involves both a cognitive aspect - how and what we think - and a behavioral aspect - how we act then and how we change our behaviors.
This therapy often includes a gradual exposure to the feared situation at a gentle pace. A discussion of that experience is then part of the therapy.
Many people who study and research phobias tell us if we can be conditioned to think and feel negatively, then we can be reconditioned to think healthfully. With properly trained techniques, we can begin living and acting differently before we confront real-life challenges.
Again, this is a longer term technique and you really can't start it a day or two before your MRI. But if claustrophobia is something you suffer from often, or your health condition means you may be having a lot of MRI scans in the future, you may want to consider putting the time and effort into this area.
The following links may help you search for a professional who can help you with claustrophobia:
ABCT - Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies
NACBT - National Association of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapists
NAMI - National Alliance of Mental Illness
TOP 5 techniques used to help relieve or reduce MRI claustrophobia, anxiety and stress.
Find the most 'open' MRI possible.
So your doctor ordered an MRI for you. Feeling claustrophobic already? Maybe more than a little nervous? There are many things you can do before the actual exam and perhaps the most important one is to find a MRI facility and machine that fits your needs best.
You've probably heard of 'open' MRIs and many imaging facilities now offer these new types of machines. The ones that truely are more open can help reduce a lot of a patient's anxiety or stress. However, some advertised 'open' MRIs are not as 'open' as you might think. So how do you know which are 'open' and which are not?
Search our list of the more popular MRI machines.
Panorama 0.6T by Philips
The list will include pictures like the one of this panarama 'open' MRI machine and descriptions for you to reference when talking with an MRI imaging facility or center. Remember, they are only pictures. Only visiting or viewing the actual machine in person will give you the truest understanding of what it is like. Which leads us to the pretty smart idea of doing just that.
It is not at all unheard of to call an imaging facility or center before making an appointment and asking them a few questions. You should not be embarrassed to do so. In fact, it quite common and they should have no problem telling you what type of MRI machine they have or would even use with your specific doctor's order. Most welcome potential patients coming in and checking out the room and the machine. Qualilty facilities and their staff want to do whatever they can to make the exam as comfortable and stress-free as possible for you. So give them a call.
Here is a directory which can help you find and contact many of the MRI facilities nearest to you.