Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Tunnel phobia in Norway

It is interesting when - as is seldom the case - phobias gain some sort of media notoriety for one reason or another. This was the case with the island of Hitra in Norway which was served by a ferry from the Norwegian mainland. All was fine and good strangely enough in that there were no complaints from the islanders about experiencing phobias on board the ferries. Then the Norwegian government decided to build a tunnel to connect the island of Hitra with the mainland. But this was no ordinary tunnel, this was the deepest and one of the longest tunnels in the world. In fact the tunnel was 264 meters below sea level and had an overall length of 5.6 kilometers. So as a result the islanders were forced to use the tunnel to cross over to mainland Norway.
Some 18 people living on the island complained of having anxiety and panic attacks when using the tunnel so the Norwegian authorities set up a special programme to try and remedy the disorder. it was based on cognitive bahvioural therapy and gradual exposure of the individuals to the tunnel situation.
The programme reports that at the conclusion all 18 taking part were able to drive through the tunnel on their own without experiencing panic or anxiety. You will find more information on the cognitive behavioural therapy for phobias here.

1 comment:

  1. It's good that the authorities provided assistance, and that it worked, instead of just blowing people off. I can see why they had a problem, though; tunnels can be dangerous places, and long deep ones like that are worse than usual.