This is not a yes or no question, as is the case with many questions in psychiatry. Xanax (alprazolam), a benzodiazepine, can be prescribed for claustrophobia, but it is not necessarily good. But Xanax is definitely not the best treatment for claustrophobia.
Claustrophobia is a specific phobia, and is characterized by a fear of closed spaces. If you suffer from claustrophobia, you also have a fear of being restricted or a fear of suffocating. When you are in a small room, an elevator, a crowded bus, or a tunnel, you may feel like you could be restricted, or may suffocate if not getting to open spaces and fresh air.
Medications are generally not prescribed for claustrophobia as a primary treatment. Antidepressants like SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and SNRIs (serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors) are not effective for specific phobias like claustrophobia. Benzodiazepines like Xanax can be prescribed as an adjunctive treatment to exposure therapy for claustrophobia. Benzodiazepines can help to address the anticipatory anxiety and phobic anxiety that arises in exposure work. In this way, benzodiazepines can enhance the overall effectiveness of exposure therapy for claustrophobia.
In terms of benzodiazepines, Xanax is not generally prescribed as it is the most abused benzodiazepine. Xanax appears to be associated with a euphoria that makes it highly addictive. In addition, Xanax is short acting, and requires multiple doses during the day to keep anxiety levels low. Klonopin (clonazepam) is a better choice, as it has a low abuse potential compared to Xanax and Valium (diazepam), and it lasts longer and can be dosed only twice daily for full coverage of anxiety during the day. When the exposure therapy is completed successfully, and the anxiety is addressed, then the benzodiazepine can be tapered and discontinued.
Another problem with Xanax is that it is difficult to taper and discontinue, as it may be associated with withdrawal symptoms of increased irritability, anxiety, sleep disturbance, tremor, and sweating, just to name a few.