Phobias are common and utterly realistic. There is no shame around it. Anyone who has a particular type of phobia can have it due to countless reasons. The intense and overwhelming fear of something may interfere in your daily life and may make your routine life negative and problematic. Have you ever wondered if someone can fear itself? Well, it’s pragmatic. The phobia of fearing the fear is known as phobophobia. There are several strange types of phobias but this one sounds really strange, right? Well, it is real and affects many people.
So, wondering what is it like to have phobophobia and how it is treated?
Read on to know more about phobophobia!
What is Phobophobia?
Phobophobia simply means fear of phobias or fear of fear. You might not have heard about this but it is an actual phobia! So, what is phobophobia actually? To put this simply, it is a fear of phobias that can lead to a vicious cycle that results in escalating fears. A person may already have one or more phobias while some may get afraid of developing a phobia. Phobophobia is often linked to anxiety disorders.
However, it’s not always a story. Phobophobia might happen with an established phobia or without an established phobia.
If you have already had any phobia, it’s more likely for you to develop phobophobia. You can also develop phobophobia without having any phobia. You can develop a phobic reaction to thinking about having a phobia. It is an exaggerated fear response just like any other phobia. However, like other phobias, you develop a fear of objects or situations but in phobophobia, you fear the fear response itself.
Symptoms of Phobophobia
Phobophobia is an extremely self-limiting phobia, and it is very real. People with anxiety disorders are more likely to develop this phobia. Phobophobia affects every area of your life and you may not enjoy taking part in activities you once loved or enjoyed the most because the fear of it is just too high.
Here are probable symptoms of phobophobia to determine if you actually have it.
- Difficulty in breathing
- Feeling dizzy or weak
- Chest pain or tightness
- Dry mouth
- Extreme fear
- Severe anxiety
- Lack of focus
- Losing control
- Intrusive or obsessive thoughts about fear.
This phobia isn’t always linked to anxiety or panic disorders. People with anxiety feel the anxious thighs and physical symptoms gradually build which sometimes may result in panic attacks. People who have panic disorder have intense panic attacks which are enabled because it becomes specific that the physical danger is near even when it is not.
However, in phobophobia, you may understand that it’s not practical to feel dreadful of your fear but your body doesn’t listen to you.
This may make your life difficult as your brain is filled with horrible outcomes when you think about that fear. You begin to feel unconfident and your self-esteem is lowered. You may experience these symptoms at any time of the day. If you are a bit sure that you have phobophobia or the symptoms seem relatable to you, you should get help as soon as possible before the condition worsens.
What may cause phobophobia?
People who already have a specific phobia, for example, zoophobia (fear of animals) or Claustrophobia (fear of small and enclosed spaces) etc may have a higher likelihood of developing phobophobia. Also, people who have anxiety disorders have an increased risk of developing this phobia. Panic is another risk factor for phobophobia which is the outset of sudden, unreasoning or frantic fear. However, these are not always the cases of phobophobia as every individual’s case of phobophobia is different.
For example, you may have seen someone close who has experienced an intense phobia which made an impression on you, making you fear that fear for yourself. You may also inherit phobophobia from your parents.
Phobophobia: Diagnosis and treatment
The symptoms of phobophobia may become severe and they may affect your everyday life. You may want or choose to live with this situation but if you don’t you can get a diagnosis that can help you come up with a reasonable treatment plan. If you want to get a diagnosis for phobophobia, you can talk to your doctor about your symptoms.
Your doctor may ask you questions like how long you’ve been experiencing symptoms, family history with anxiety, phobias or panic disorders and other questions about your mental health.
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After you’ve been diagnosed with phobophobia, your doctor will come up with a treatment plan. The treatment plan may involve these possible types of treatments:
The common type of treatment option available for phobophobia is behavioural therapy. This may include exposure therapy that focuses on slow exposure to the things you fear. Another therapy involved in the treatment of phobophobia is cognitive behaviour therapy which involves identifying cognitive distortions and helps in changing your thoughts to manage the symptoms of panic.
This might not be used commonly for the treatment of phobophobia but it depends on the person if they need it for managing the symptoms of phobophobia. If the symptoms are severe causing problems in your life you may be prescribed a beta-blocker or sedative while you start the treatment for this phobia.
Lifestyle changes are necessary for any type of treatment and also for phobias. There are various lifestyle habits you can opt to change or reduce the impact of phobophobia on your life. These habits may act as a supplement for the treatment of this phobia.
Try some of these tips to reduce the effects of phobophobia on your life:
- Talk to someone you trust or hold dear. This may help you feel relaxed and happy.
- Spend some time outside. This way, you may learn to manage your anxiety and panic towards the fear.
- Try meditation. This may help you feel relaxed and reduce anxiety.
- You can also try yoga as it relieves stress and anxiety making you feel peaceful and relaxed.
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