Yes, there is medicine for claustrophobia. However, medication is only prescribed as an adjunctive treatment to exposure therapy. Claustrophobia, a type of specific phobia, is a fear of closed spaces- so this could be a fear of being in a small room, or in small spaces. Inherently, there is a fear of being restricted or a fear of suffocation. The film Buried, starring Ryan Reynolds as Paul Conroy, is a story about a man buried in a coffin in Iraq, and he eventually suffocates when his coffin fills with sand and his rescuers are unable to find him…this is the worst fear of someone with claustrophobia. But how often does such a situation occur?
Medications are only prescribed as adjunctive treatment to exposure therapy for claustrophobia. Benzodiazepines such as clonazepam (Klonopin) and lorazepam (Ativan) can be used to enhance exposure work. As exposure work involves exposing the sufferer to gradually worsening degrees of the feared situation, it is associated with an increase in anticipatory anxiety (anxiety about the upcoming exposure) and phobic anxiety (anxiety during the exposure sessions). Benzodiazepines can address the anticipatory anxiety and the phobic anxiety during exposure therapy. When the exposure therapy is completed and successful at extinguishing the anxiety, then the benzodiazepine can be tapered and discontinued.
Another medication that can be used as adjunctive treatment to exposure therapy for claustrophobia is D-cycloserine. D-cycloserine helps to facilitate the fear extinction during exposure sessions. Antidepressants such as SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and SNRIs (serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors) are not effective for specific phobia, and hence not effective for claustrophobia. Specific phobia is the only anxiety disorder which does not respond to antidepressants. The main treatment for claustrophobia is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)…specifically exposure therapy with emphasis on relaxation techniques to calm overall anxiety levels. Eventually, the anxiety will be eradicated with each successive graded exposure, until the sufferer is finally able to tolerate closed spaces without phobic anxiety.