How can a claustrophobic person use a CPAP machine properly?

My spouse recommended that I look into CPAP treatment for my sleep apnea, but I easily get claustrophobic. How can somebody with claustrophobia feel comfortable with a CPAP machine? What happens if I use the CPAP machine irregularly?

Doctors Answers (1)

Gary K. Zammit, Ph.D.
Answered on: 6/16/2014

CPAP can be challenging for people with claustrophobia. However, the challenge is not insurmountable. The first thing to do is to talk to your sleep doctor about your concerns. He or she can recommend a CPAP initiation plan that takes into account your potential claustrophobic reaction. If needed, a desensitization program can be developed for you. There also may be some medications that can help you accommodate to CPAP more easily. Whatever approach you and your doctor take, it is important to use your CPAP machine regularly. Irregular use may mean that your apnea symptoms are not effectively treated, in which case you will be exposed to greater health risks.