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"I need space! Above me, and below me, and all around me, and I don't have space all around me, and that's bad, because... [yelling] I'M A SPACE MONKEY!"
Minka Mark, Littlest Pet Shop (2012)

Small or enclosed spaces and having no escape. Like bee stings and heights, this is one of those things that unnerve essentially everybody, but, like those two, it also affects some people much more than others. Some people are deathly afraid of enclosed spaces, and anything from being trapped in a stuck elevator to being shut in a closet could cause them to Freak Out and make being Locked in a Room and Locked in a Freezer ever so much more fun for all involved. Studies show that around 1 in 20 people in the world have severe claustrophobia. For fictional characters, the number is more like 1 in 3. Expect visions of small places getting smaller and smaller until there's no place to breathe, and expect anyone who is revealed to be claustrophobic before the fact to be put into a tight situation eventually.

If this is The Hero's debilitating weakness, then it's also an example of Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?, though it is a phobia that can and will occur in any kind of character, since it's so easy to give situations where it would come into play.

The opposite, rarer (in reality and in fiction) phobia - where the character is afraid of wide-open spaces - is called agoraphobia, though that often limits itself to being afraid of the outside world in general, and those suffering it often still feel comfortable remaining inside a firmly locked house.

Truth in Television, of course, as it's a common fear many Tropers reading this may know someone who is claustrophobic or even be claustrophobic. The Other Wiki explains it in depth here.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Goblin Slayer: Inverted with Goblin Slayer in his profession, who very much prefers fighting goblins in narrow space which allow him to kill hundreds of them in a single dungeon. After experiencing fighting them in open areas during his first year of adventuring, he absolutely hates the idea of fighting them in such an environment again. When an army of goblins are about to invade the farm where he and Cow Girl live, he has to ask the entire guild for help, since he wouldn't be able to survive fighting so many of them in an open field. He even says that if it were a narrow cave, he would just do it alone.
  • The normally cheerful Tanpopo in Imadoki! freaks out when trapped in an elevator by a hacker. She later reveals that her fear of dark, small spaces is due to traumatic memories of the car crash that killed her parents.
  • In One Piece, it's hinted that Magellan, the Big Bad of the Impel Down arc, has the opposite problem — agoraphobia, the fear of open spaces — making him well-suited to his job as warden of the facility.
  • Ash Ketchum's Pikachu from Pokémon: The Series is actually implied to be claustrophobic because of his dislike of being contained within a Pokéball like all of the other Pokémon. The only time we ever see him come out of a Pokéball was at the very beginning of the first episode where Ash chooses him as his Starter Pokémon, and the only time we ever see him go inside a Pokéball is about halfway through Pokémon: The First Movie during the scene where Mewtwo captures all of the trainers' Pokémon using several sinister-looking Pokéballs (which for some reason, also capture Pokémon that are already inside their own Pokéballs), so he can create an army of cloned Pokémon to help him rule the world. When the aforementioned "Clone Balls" come back to release all of the captured Pokémon, Pikachu, as a result of this, is apparently now extremely pissed...
  • Urusei Yatsura: Shutaro Mendo suffers from both this and a fear of darkness... unless any women are watching, in which case his desire to look cool and suave trumps it. It's later revealed that he developed these phobias as a child from the actions of himself as a teen, travelling back in time to attempt to prevent the phobias from developing in the first place. After getting fed up with the bratty, borderline abusive (who are we kidding? — actually abusive) behavior of his younger self, Mendou snapped and was about to take himself out of the timeline by chopping the kid into tiny bits with his katana. Kid Mendou hid out in a room full of large clay jars, scared for his life, as he heard Mendou smashing them trying to find him. Lum knocked Mendou out just as he found Kid Mendou, leaving a traumatized toddler.

    Comic Books 
  • Storm of the X-Men is traditionally claustrophobic, dating back to Chris Claremont's work on the comic. A plane crash that killed her parents also left her buried in rubble for hours, right next to her mother's body. She keeps it under control except in similarly extreme situations. She also has this phobia in certain adaptations, particularly X-Men: The Animated Series and X-Men: Evolution. It's generally a bad idea to try to exploit this in battle nowadays, since it just makes her angry. You don't want to make a person who is essentially a Fisher King everywhere she goes angry, something Doctor Doom can attest to.
  • Atari Force. "Okay, what genius decided to put a claustrophobic man in space?"
  • Jinty: The heroine of "Waves of Fear" suffers from this, and her fear starts ruining her life, as she gets bullied and receives No Sympathy from her parents, who are disgusted at having a "coward" for a daughter.
  • Post-Crisis Supergirl experiences strong claustrophobia (combined with nyctophobia) when she is stuck inside a tight, dark space due to spending decades trapped inside a space pod. In "Girl Power", she explains this to the Teen Titans member Raven.
    Supergirl: You shouldn't have done that. Don't ever put me in the dark. Closed in. It's like I told Superboy. I can't handle it.

    Comic Strips 
  • Peanuts:
    • Snoopy experiences severe claustrophobia whenever he goes through tall weeds.
    • In one strip the kids are discussing how they get claustrophobia in certain situation (in an elevator, in a crowd, etc.) Charlie Brown says "I get claustrophobia in the world."

    Fan Works 
  • In the Homestuck fanfic "four titles," John air and wind powers have a side-effect of giving him claustrophobia—he detests anything but open air.
  • Shows up quite a bit in Tin Man fanfic. Justified there because the Tin Suit was pure hell for Cain, DG was trapped in a coffin during the series and came close to not surviving it, and Raw was about to face a nasty end trapped in a Papay cocoon.
  • In Neon Exodus Evangelion, DJ Croft is afflicted with this. It proves debilitating when he's trapped in the elevator with Misato, and downright crippling when he's stuck in the Dirac Sea.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! Soul of Silicon, Ebon Magician Curran has this, leading to her wanting revenge on her owner for keeping her card in a box.
  • One of the less good things that happens to John after he's transformed into a Winged Humanoid in With Strings Attached is that he's rendered claustrophobic. It's really only an issue early on, just after he's been transformed and is miserably hiding in Lyndess's windowless spare room. Though he wants to stay there forever, he's driven out into the night by his feelings.
    • John's claustrophobia becomes a much bigger issue in The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World. At least once it prevents him from pulling off a heist—though ironically he'd taken a magical drug to subdue his claustrophobia, but it failed at the wrong moment.
  • In the Horseshoes and Hand Grenades sidestory [SplitxEnd], Yayoi Tokuda reveals to have this due to an experience of bullies trapping her in a dark warehouse when she was younger. However, she's able to ignore her fear with enough focus.
  • The Bridge:
    • Rodan is a pterodactyl-like Kaiju turned into a Griffon. He can barely handle being inside a building or a train, preferring the wide open spaces of Appleloosa. While comforting him, Applejack comments that it is a common problem for beings who can fly; many Pegasi have it too.
    • Irys, a member of the pterodactyl/bat-like Gyaos, also has this. When in human form, she has a panic attack when she has to ride a car.
  • SpongeTron of Time Fixers: Nicktoons of the Future has this, stemmed from being deactivated and locked in a basement for nine years. He freaks out at the thought of being deactivated and when trapped in a closet or box, he starts to hyperventilate.
  • Almost universal for pegasi in the Triptych Continuum, to the point where it stands out if somepony doesn't have it. For Rainbow, it can start kicking in any time there isn't enough room for a full wingspan, with no clear route to the sky — while Fluttershy has no trouble entering her own basement.
  • Alex doesn't initially have a problem with this in The Secret Return of Alex Mack, but after being trapped under the rubble of a collapsed building, Squashed Flat in her silvery form, for half a day, it becomes a concern.
  • Jeremy Fitzgerald suffers from this in Something Always Remains. It not only makes hiding in the empty Freddy head more unbearable for him, it exacerbates his anxiety when he's trapped inside the Spring Bonnie suit, and the following panic attack contributes to his death.
  • Yesterday Upon The Stair: due a childhood incident in which Bakugou locked Izuku in a closet that had a vicious ghost in it, Izuku suffers from a terrible case of this to the point of only using stairs at the mall and begging and bribing Eijirou when the latter tries to pull him into an elevator. It makes being locked into Compress' containment orb a special form of hell.
  • Harriett Potter in The Rigel Black Chronicles is typically an indoors person and actually used to like cozy spaces. Then she spent a week locked in an underground chamber with an exit only large enough for rodents, and a second week in a chamber underneath the first that was too small to stand upright, gradually starving to death. She doesn't like enclosed spaces any more.
  • Lexi from Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail suffers from claustrophobia due to having been stuck Buried Alive within his own car for eight years. The narration recalls the time he, Atticus and Chloe slept in a large dresser drawer, but he started freaking out when it closed shut and Chloe and Atticus had to push the drawer open during his panic attack.
  • In Futures Freak Me Out, Asuka has developed a slight case of claustrophobia due to her former life as a mecha pilot. During a flight to Germany, she ponders how much she hates spending hours stuck in a metal box which she cannot get out of.
    Lately, it's pretty much only if I'm super stressed or super drunk. Thanks to the in-flight drinks, I'm a little bit of both, but I know the craving is mostly from having just spent the entire day in a fucking tin box. First class be damned – I hate being in things I can't run away from, and there's no emergency exit when you're four miles over China.
    Also, it reminds me a little too eerily of the other monstrous machine I used to sit in for hours at a time. Formerly proud memories, now only painful.
  • Rocketship Voyager. In Chapter XI, the Caretaker has Captain Janeway sealed up inside a cargo rocket that's barely large enough to hold her and launched into space. The combination of confinement and sudden exposure to the infinity of space gives her a momentary panic attack until she's able to stabilize her breathing.
  • Snow Way Out. Rodney has a panic attack when he and Mr. J are trapped by an avalanche as a callback to the Squirrel Boy episode Wall of the Wild when he was trapped inside the house's small spaces.

  • Body Double: Actor Jake Scully is playing a vampire in a soft-core porn film. During a scene in a coffin, he freaks out and can't say his lines. His claustrophobia is brought back at the end of the film, when the villain is trying to bury him in an empty grave.
  • Indie film Chariot takes place on an airplane that can not land anywhere due to the United States being under nuclear attack, invoking claustrophobia on the passengers.
  • Friend of the World invokes this on its audience as the characters navigate through the corridors of an underground bunker.
  • Woody Allen in Manhattan Murder Mystery gets trapped with his wife in an elevator, and cries out in panic: "I'm a world-renowned claustrophobic!" Then trying to escape they discover a murdered corpse on top of the elevator's roof: "Claustrophobia and a dead body - this is a neurotic's jackpot!"
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990), Casey Jones is revealed to be claustrophobic when taken to the turtles' lair in the sewers. When he goes to sleep in the cab of his truck instead, he has to roll down the window to feel comfortable.
  • The tunnel-digger in The Great Escape was claustrophobic. At first it seems sort of weird or funny, but then we see this big tough guy curled up in the fetal position in a business suit, waiting for some Nazis to pass by... so that he can hop a boat to Sweden.
  • The Descent is all about invoking this in its viewers.
  • In Poseidon, the survivors have to scramble through a flooding air vent, and one of them has severe claustrophobia, to the point where she has to be physically dragged inside, and has a panic attack when one of the others gets stuck. The music score for the sequence is, fittingly enough, titled, "Claustrophobia."
  • Ridley Scott, the director of Alien, states that the sets on that film were supposed to create claustrophobia in the audience.
  • Elevated: Ben is quite claustrophobic and quickly panics when the elevator breaks down. This leads to his death when he goes outside the elevator.
  • In Don Bluth's Rock-A-Doodle, Snipes is shown to be this when he and the others are closed into Edmin's toy box. Unfortunately, this drives him to peck air holes while the toy box is underwater.
  • Morning Departure: Snipe suffers from claustrophobia and should have been illegible for the submarine service, but he hid the condition so he qualify for the bonus pay paid to submariners. So long as the sub is active he can control his fear, but when the Trojan becomes crippled on the floor of the sea, he starts to freak out and gradually becomes unhinged.
  • In Reform School Girls, Lisa suffers from claustrophobia as a result of being locked in an icebox as punishment by her foster mother. She does not react well to being placed in isolation.

  • Animorphs: Andalites are a species of open-air grazers, so they all seem to have some form of claustrophobia, though it only comes up once or twice. Ax repeats "There is sufficient air" to himself to ward off the effects in one book (note that he's on top of a truck in a tunnel at the time), while Visser Three once designs a trap for the team involving closing walls (it doesn't work, since Rachel's the one that fell in the trap).
  • The sixth Artemis Fowl book gives Holly Short claustrophobia tied to some newly revealed backstory, although she never seemed to have a problem with small spaces in previous books. This is explained away as that she had overcome this claustrophobia long before the events of the books, but her body had become that of an adolescent due to unforeseen side effects of the time traveling, so she had gotten back her claustrophobia.
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses: After her time Under the Mountain, Feyre develops an intense fear of being trapped, especially in small, underground spaces.
  • Main character Robert Langdon from The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, due to being trapped in a well in his childhood.
  • In Rowan of Rin by Emily Rodda, weak and cowardly Rowan is fated to accompany six big, strong, brave villagers up the forbidden mountain to find out what has stopped up the village's stream. The big, strong, brave villagers get picked off one at a time due to phobias and fears. One of the last to go is Marlie, the stout little weaver, who tries valiantly to fight past her claustrophobia, but can't do it. She's forced to turn back. Lucky, too, because the last leg of the journey is a three-day stretch inside a winding tunnel so tiny that even little Rowan is crawling on his stomach the whole way, and Strong Jonn can barely fit. And they can't take any supplies.
  • Yago from Remnants. He fell into a construction hole in his backyard during a rainstorm, and wasn't rescued until the next morning.
  • David Eddings' The Belgariad:
    • Silk develops a pronounced case of claustrophobia after Relg rescues him from a pit by carrying him through—as in, right through—the rock it's carved out of. Up to that point he had only minor difficulties with it when he was in the cave system of the Ulgos. This remains an issue for Silk in the follow-up series, The Mallorean.
    • Relg himself suffers from the opposite fear — agoraphobia, the fear of open spaces — at first. He had lived his entire life in the caves of Ulgoland, and had not only had never seen the sky, he had no real concept of "sky", "sun", "clouds", or "stars". Garion spends several days just trying to keep him vaguely functional.
  • In The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub, Wolf, the Territories werewolf who has befriended the hero, is violently claustrophobic, to the point that he refuses to ride in a small car.
  • Phase, of the Whateley Universe has some degree of claustrophobia. This is pretty reasonable, since he's: been experimented on (i.e. tortured) by a Mad Scientist while trapped in a box the size of a coffin; nearly suffocated underground; been trapped in a pitch-dark sewer with no flashlight while being attacked by a zombie army; and his own powers mean he can pass through solid objects but he can't see or breathe while he's doing it. Ouch.
  • Isaac Asimov:
    • In The Caves of Steel Protagonist Elijah Baley and all of the Earthlings raised in the crowded, claustrophobic Cities, have agoraphobia — a fear of open spaces, in this case the outdoors in general. Baley starts confronting this fear in the second novel, and is largely successful, although being caught in a thunderstorm doesn't help.
    • "Nightfall (1941)": Due to their Endless Daytime, the people of Lagash are so afraid of the dark that 15 minutes without light are enough for a 10% chance of becoming extremely claustrophobic. They discovered this pattern with a theme park ride called "The Tunnel of Mystery".
    • Nightfall (1990): The people of Kalgash are so used to daylight that 15 minutes of darkness is enough for a 10% chance of becoming extremely claustrophobic.
    • Asimov himself was a claustraphile - he worked best in small, enclosed spaces.
  • Animorphs:
    • The entire Andalite race is claustrophobic. Justified in that Andalites are descended from herd animals that lived in grasslands.
    • In The Ellimist Chronicles (a distant prequel to the main Animorphs series), the Ketrans have a similar species-wide claustrophobia. This is seen when they are forced to enter and fly an alien ship of opaque metal. Ketrans are a winged species which live on massive transparent crystals that float in the sky.
  • The Wheel of Time: Rand Al'Thor develops claustrophobia after being abducted, stuffed in a trunk, cut off from channeling, and shipped off on a trip of hundreds of miles, only being allowed out for minutes at a time for weeks.
  • In Margaret Mahy's Maddigan's Fantasia and Maddigan's Quest, the TV series written by the same author, Eden the boy magician has this fear, which is useful to the plot because he is the only magical character and his absence in some scenes forces the other characters to think for themselves and get out of sticky situations without magic.
  • Allie in Devon Monk's Allie Beckstrom series.
  • Zak shows some signs of this in Galaxy of Fear, especially after he's Buried Alive.
  • Four from Divergent is afraid of small spaces, which is from a childhood punishment.
  • Valkyrie from Skulduggery Pleasant, especially after book six, but can you blame her?
  • In Mercedes Lackey's Summoned to Tourney, one of the characters is claustrophobic due to a childhood trauma; the bad guys find this out and put her in a decompression chamber to break her. She's rescued, but spends the remainder of the book struggling with PTSD.
  • The Doctor develops a bad case of this in the Eighth Doctor Adventures, along with other symptoms of PTSD, after being imprisoned for a very long time.
  • Inverted in Seeker Bears. Being a black bear, Lusa is most at home amongst the trees. She hates wide-open spaces.
  • Ivan Vorpatril from the Vorkosigan Saga develops a galloping case after someone tries to kill him by locking him in a small enclosed space which is about to be flooded with water. Although as Ivan points out in a later book in the series:
    I do not have a claustrophobia thing. I have a perfectly rational dislike of being locked up in small, dark, wet spaces by people trying to kill me.
  • In Warrior Cats, Gray Wing. He loves open spaces, feeling too closed-in even in a forest. The one time he crawls into a rabbit burrow, it's only because he wants to prove that he's not a coward, and he starts panicking while underground.
  • Coco Adel is revealed to be claustrophobic in RWBY: After the Fall. As a child, she got herself locked under the sink all day during a game of hide and seek and wasn't found until much later when she desperately kicked against the pipes to make noise. This fear leaves her very jumpy and trigger happy when trying to escort a family of survivors through tunnels in the mountain.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The UFO (1970) episode "Sub-Smash" has a female Shado crewmember who's morbidly claustrophobic. She's none too happy when she has to try escaping from the crashed submarine of the title through a narrow missile tube. She's even less happy when it fails to open, leaving her trapped inside. Her commanding officer also suffered from claustrophobia, and originally thought her crying for help was his own mind starting to crack up.
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Garak suffers from claustrophobia to a debilitating degree. It's hinted at earlier in the show, and sometimes even crops up as a Sarcastic Confession before the show eventually reveals that he genuinely does have the condition and it hasn't been one of his many tall tales. As a result, it's been used as a plot point several times in the show (both before and after the reveal). This is a case of Written-In Infirmity due to Real Life Writes the Plot. Garak's actor is so claustrophobic that even wearing the Cardassian make-up could be a problem for him.
    • Star Trek: Voyager: Tom Paris apparently suffers from this subconsciously, causing him to frequently crawl out of a Human Popsicle tube in "One", much to the annoyance of Seven of Nine, who has to keep putting him back in.
    • Star Trek: Enterprise: Hoshi Sato suffers from this, making her very uncomfortable in her EV suit.
  • Lister in Red Dwarf had a bout of this when performing an Air-Vent Passageway escape. Lampshaded the fact that it was the first time this had ever come up. He explains that he's fine so long as he knows he can get out. He developed the phobia when the husband of a co-worker with whom he was having an affair locked him in a box and threatened to throw him into a river, then let him out on stage in the middle of a production of The Importance of Being Earnest (he was naked at the time).
  • One of the many phobias of Monk. Subverted in the episode where he was Buried Alive, as the memory of Trudy kept him calm.
  • Barbara Bain's real life claustrophobia was written into an episode of Mission: Impossible in which her character (also claustrophobic) is tortured by being drugged and held in a small, enclosed space.
  • In one episode of Night Court, Dan Fielding reveals his claustrophobia while trapped in a stuck elevator with two sumo wrestlers and bailiff Roz. She helps calm him by having his close his eyes and imagine he is standing in the middle of a football stadium, with lots of room all around him, and it's filled with happy, cheering people who are all looking at him... and he's naked. That last detail elicits a grin from him.
  • In season 10 of ER, it's revealed that Neela suffers from claustrophobia when she has to spend a few hours in a hyperbaric chamber with a baby with carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • The M*A*S*H episode "C*A*V*E" has Hawkeye having to deal with this when enemy shelling forces the 4077th to relocate to a nearby cave. The same episode has normally tough-as-nails Margaret Houlihan admitting to a deathly fear of loud noises.
  • Anya from Buffy the Vampire Slayer was revealed as claustrophobic in the Season Six episode when the cast were trapped in Buffy's house.
  • In Stargate Universe, the normally tough-as-nails Greer turns out to be claustrophobic, just before going into an underground tunnel network which he ends up trapped in.
  • Doctor Reid Oliver from As the World Turns showed signs of severe claustrophobia when the elevator he and Luke were in got stuck, going so far as to risk damaging his hands in an attempt to escape and manhandling Luke in fear that Luke's jumping could genuinely get them killed. Seeing as all he had to do to escape death by train was wiggle out of his seatbelt, open his door (possibly break the window and exit that way if the door also refused to open), and sprint, this could have been an Author's Saving Throw. However, the actor played the scene as calmly frantic rather than as if claustrophobia was severely impairing his judgment.
  • Sonny Corinthos from General Hospital has severe claustrophobia; its origin is because his abusive stepfather Zeke used to lock him in a closet, and it has been used to excuse Sonny getting away with his litany of crimes because prison would be too much for him to take.
  • Mike Cannon in Las Vegas has claustrophobia (he even says that it's part of the reason he's a valet; he can spend most of his time outside). When a power outage seals Mike, Ed and Mitch in the security room, he begins to lose it, leading to Ed being confused because Mike has by this point begun to spend a lot of time in the security room; Mike explains that as long as he knows he can leave, he can control it, then this happens:
    Ed: *slap*
    Mike: Mr. slapped me.
    Ed: Well, Mike, I had to do something, you were freaking out.
    Mike: Well, I'm still freaking out, and now my face hurts.
  • Vila Restal of Blake's 7, though this was never mentioned again. As a thief he must have seen plenty of small hidey-holes, so he's likely just making this up to avoid volunteering for something dangerous.
    Vila: I'd be glad to [crawl through the service shaft], it's just I've got this problem with enclosed spaces. There's a medical name for it.
    Jenna: Cowardice?
  • In the second JAG episode ("Shadow"), Meg complains about this when aboard a submarine.
  • In Wizards of Waverly Place, Justin has it. Although he's never shown any signs of it, especially when he was in the caves of the Stone of Dreams.
  • In The Thick of It, Nicola Murray (like actress Rebecca Front) is claustrophobic. Judging by his reaction to being locked in Peter Mannion's bathroom as the result of a prank in the Opposition special, Stewart Pearson may also be.
  • iCarly has Carly develop this when she, Sam, and Freddie are locked in a space pod to see how well they can handle space travel. Carly freaks out so much she breaks the glass to get out of the pod. This returns in a later episode when she is locked in a padded room with Sam and her mother. According to the 2021 series, it actually originated as a result of Carly being trapped in an MRI machine due to the technician forgetting about her.
  • Exploited once on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. When the detectives learn that a kidnapping suspect is acutely claustrophobic, they lock him in a closet until he tells them where he hid his victim.
  • House of Anubis: This is Alfie's big fear in the second season, revealed when he has to crawl through the tiny tunnel and gets panicked. He gets over it by hiding under his bed for hours at a time.
  • Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger: Sen-chan is revealed to suffer from this as a result of falling into a well as a kid. During an episode, a criminal kidnaps him and locks him up in a room with closing walls to eventually crush him. With his SP License damaged an unable to transform, he has to try and keep calm until his friends can come to rescue him.
  • Secret Garden: Joo Won has severe claustrophobia, to the point he takes medication for it. His employees at the department store complain about how he takes the escalators up, which forces them all to line up and bow, when he could take the elevator. The reason is that he can't stand to be in the elevator.
  • CSI: NY: One of the perp's intended victims in "Blacklist" is a nurse who is severely claustrophobic. He uses remote technology to trap her in a hospital elevator and send her to a floor that's temporarily empty so screaming for help is in vain. Mac and Sheldon barely get to her before she passes out from hyperventilating.

  • Evoked by the song "City With No Children" on Arcade Fire's The Suburbs:
    I dreamed I drove to Houston on a highway that was underground
    There was no light that we could see as we listened to the sound
    Of the engines failing.

  • Find Us Alive has Agent Love, who suffers from this. Uncharacteristically for her brash exterior, she has a panic attack when forced to remain in Harley's tiny office with four other people.
  • The Magnus Archives: Martin, one of the archivist's assistants, is a sufferer, and therefore excuses himself from investigating a caving-related case. Later he has to endure being trapped in his flat for two weeks by Jane Prentiss. The Buried is the Dread Power which represents claustrophobia itself, with its most notable example being a coffin that serves as a portal into an Eldritch Location designed to make someone feel as trapped and suffocated as possible without killing them.

    Roleplaying Games 
  • Dino Attack RPG has Andrea Jackson Orange, who has developed a form of this after being forced to spend an unspecified period of time trapped in a makeshift bunker. As a result (in a homage to Team Fortress 2), when wearing a gas mask she has some... unusual hallucinations.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Dungeons & Dragons, Avariels (winged elves) and aarakocra (bird-like humanoids) are often depicted as suffering from claustrophobia as a racial trait.
  • Magic: The Gathering: One of the many horror tropes invoked in Innistrad, such as the card actually called "Claustrophobia".
  • The K'Kree in Traveller are descended from plains-dwelling herd animals, and as such are claustrophobic as a species (only K'Kree with some form of mental illness are unaffected). Their "buildings" are actually really big tents, partitioned by curtains; the only walls are for load-bearing. Even their spaceships are giant glass domes enclosing an artificial field... which means one good shot from an opposing ship will kill the entire crew, because they're so afraid of close spaces that they can't even wear helmets.
  • Ogryns from Warhammer 40,000 commonly suffer from extreme claustrophobia, with enclosed spaces making them very frightened and jumpy. In some editions of the rules, this claustrophobia was so bad that Ogryns were unable to enter a transport vehicle unless they were accompanied by a character as no Ogryn would refuse a direct order, no matter how uncomfortable it made them.

  • Gums of the Werebears toy line is claustrophobic and transforms when he's in a small, dark space.

    Video Games 
  • In Ace Attorney, Edgeworth definitely has a fear of elevators; he avoids taking them whenever possible and becomes anxious when he has to interact with one (justified in that his father was killed in one when he was a child, and right in front of him no less); Fanon is split on whether this is elevator-specific or if he doesn't like any small spaces.
  • In Baldur's Gate II, Aerie gets extremely uncomfortable in dungeon environment, and nearly freaks out when the party finds themselves in the Underdark. And for good reason; Aerie is a member of the Avariel, a race of winged elves, all of whom are claustrophobic to a degree.
    Aerie (when the Underdark is mentioned): "The... the Underdark? No... no! I cannot go there! You do not understand, it is death for my kind! No Avariel has ever traveled the depths!!"
    Aerie (upon arrival in the Underdark): "This... this is the Underdark. Oooh, I don't want to be here, I don't! This place is death for my people! I, I feel as if I'm going to suffocate here!"
  • Dragon Age:
    • If you bring Anders to the Deep Roads in Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening, he gets distracted by the miles and miles of rock over your heads. If he's telling the truth about spending a year in solitary confinement back at the Circle, that would explain it.
    • Isabela from Dragon Age II isn't fond of the Deep Roads either, nervously saying that she "really doesn't like tight spaces" if you take her with you on the expedition.
  • Two unavoidable instances of this in Escape from Horrorland. One is where you are crawling through incredibly cramped wooden tunnels while being chased by a mummy at high speed directly behind you, and it is very easy to get lost in the tunnels. The other time is when you have to shut yourself inside a coffin and use it as a boat down a sewer, while spiders enter the coffin and try to bite you.
  • Carla Valenti in Fahrenheit. Notable because in two levels, you actually have to guide her through claustrophobic environments, simultaneously controlling her movement and her breath. If you fail the latter, she freaks out and the game's over.
  • It's never explicitly stated, but in Final Fantasy VII, Cloud freaks out whenever he's forced to go into a tight space, like when he goes into the hut to open the bridge on Mt. Corel or has to enter the submarine interior. Considering his history, it would make sense for him to be a claustrophobe.
  • In Grim Fandango, French waiter Raoul is claustrophobic, and Manny has to lock him up inside a closet. Raoul starts to panic, and ends up accidentally knocking himself out.
    • Later in the game, Manny locks himself up inside a vault, and discovers that he doesn't feel very comfortable in such places, either.
      Manny: "Oh, Raoul... I'm so, so sorry!"
  • In Chapter 1 of Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark, a conversation you can randomly get with Daelan Red Tiger reveals that he's claustrophobic: great fun during a dungeon crawl. He's willing to keep going with you through the end of the chapter though, believing that by facing his fears, they lose their power over him.
  • The Prince of Persia stated at the end of the first game that he's claustrophobic.
  • In Roots Of Pacha, Gin is afraid of tight spaces, which is why he trusts the protagonist to explore the caves for him.
  • Inverted in Spyro: A Hero's Tail. One of the playable characters is a mole who hates being above-ground.
  • There is an Oculus Rift game named Squish where you simply watch the walls close in on you.note  Actually, lots of horror games utilize closed-up spaces... usually dark closed-up spaces.
  • Charlie Cutter, in Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, is dangerously claustrophobic. When he's affected by the mind-altering substance of the Big Bad, his fear is much worse, and he responds with homicidal rage towards his friends, who he believes have betrayed him.

  • In Sluggy Freelance Zoe is able to give herself a panic attack in a dark tunnel through trying not to think about it.
    "At least I'm not claustrophobic. Not that I should think about claustrophobia right now... oops."

    Web Videos 
  • In Entry #60 of Marble Hornets, Jay ventures into a tunnel under an abandoned hospital. Guess who apparently fits into small confined spaces?
  • Fate/Cero: Rider-class Servant Iskander outright calls himself this, after busting down the door to Waver's garage and perching himself atop a bridge girder.
    Iskander: Are we in a broom closet? [...] I can't breathe in here! [...] I gotta make a hole! [busts down Waver's garage door] Hold me!
    Iskander: I'm claustrophobic. I have to drink away the fear.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Appa is seen to have a great dislike for enclosed spaces, especially being underground. Makes sense, considering that he's a large animal who is used to flight.
  • Dan Vs.: Chris is an interesting subversion. Instead of being afraid of small, enclosed spaces he's afraid of wide, open spaces...which is why he's terrified of prairies.
  • Justice League: Hawkgirl is claustrophobic, as shown in "Only A Dream". She hyperventilates when trapped in a holographic box by Luminus, which foreshadows her nearly having a heart attack when Dr. Destiny traps her in a coffin in an inescapable dream.
  • Extreme Ghostbusters: Garrett is claustrophobic, and has to confront his fear when facing a ghost that makes people's phobias come to life.
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2021): Krass lost her parents when their ship crashed. Krass was the only survivor because she had been wearing her father's helmet at the time. It took the Tiger Tribe three days to get her out of the wreckage and save her. When she is Buried Alive while in another ship, she's in a Troubled Fetal Position and desperately trying not to have a panic attack.
  • Iron Man: The Animated Series: James Rhodes developed claustrophobia as a result of drowning while wearing his War Machine armor.
  • Jonny Quest: The Real Adventures: Jessie Bannon is claustrophobic, conveniently presented in an episode where her and Jonny end up stranded in an underwater laboratory with only a bunch of deadly mutant fish for company.
  • Littlest Pet Shop (2012): Minka Mark is highly claustrophobic, referring to herself as a "space monkey" (it's not because she was part of the space program). Her claustrophobia is triggered in at least three episodes. See above quote for just how much Sanity Slippage she might undergo if confined to small spaces.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic:
    • A pony the main characters are entertaining in the episode "Games Ponies Play" is very skittish about being indoors and completely freaks out when a vase gets stuck on her head. Turns out to be a case of Shown Their Work as the pony refers to herself as a mustang, a breed known for being claustrophobic.
    • In the episode "What Lies Beneath", Gallus the griffon is shown to be highly claustrophobic when The Tree of Harmony tests him by trapping him in enclosed space that shrinks when he touches a light beam of the wrong color, forcing him to overcome his claustrophobia.
  • Ready Jet Go!: Sean has claustrophobia. In "Earth Mission to Moon," he admits that he feels weird in cramped spaces. This is one of the things challenging his desire to become an astronaut.
  • Snipes the Magpie in Rock-A-Doodle has a panic attack when he and the others are in a closed trunk floating down the river. His Freak Out is so bad he starks pecking holes in the trunk to get air, nearly drowning everyone.
  • Dizzy is revealed to suffer from this in Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles. It becomes a problem when The Squad has to recon a series of bug tunnels known as "Bug City".
  • Sparks on Sealab 2021 goes into panic attacks when he and most of the cast are trapped inside the janitor's closet.
  • Hefty in The Smurfs (1981) develops this when he is trapped in an elevator for hours with Brainy of all Smurfs.
  • In The Smurfs (2021) episode "No Smurf Out", Handy goes nuts when he is trapped inside Scaredy's house, unable to open the door from the inside, and starts chasing Brainy around, thinking that he is a nail.
  • In Spongebob Squarepants, Squidward tells SpongeBob and Patrick that he is claustrophobic. However, SpongeBob and Patrick think that means he was scared of Santa Claus. Complete with Patrick trying to "scare" him by saying "Ho ho ho!"
  • Total Drama:

    Real Life 
  • Many animals that normally live in wide open spaces do very poorly when they are confined. This trait is problematic if people wanted to domesticate it or put it on display in zoos or aquariums. Great white sharks are almost impossible to keep in captivity due to this reason.


Video Example(s):


Walter Has Claustrophobia

While heading down towards the bunker, Walter reveals he sometimes has claustrophobia and was hoping it wouldn't happen while going down to the bunker. To comfort himself, he and Beef sings Steve Winwood's "Higher Love" to help him get through the bunker.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / Claustrophobia

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