In this blog we will discuss what Anablephobia is.
We will also explore the symptoms of this phobia, the causes of its development, and how to cope or manage this phobia.
What is Anablephobia?
Anablephobia refers to the irrational fear of looking up.
For an individual that has been affected by this phobia, they experience high levels of anxiety when they consider the thought of looking up.
It is believe that the reason for this irrational fear is due to their individual to cope with the vastness of the sky above as well as the fear of having something fall down such as objects, planes, etc,
Individuals with this fear often struggle with the mere idea of having to look up towards an elevated surface or even the sky, that alone is enough to cause them to experience anxiety symptoms and in severe cases even panic attacks.
The individual might engage in avoidance behaviours so as to avoid any engagement or situation where they might have to look up such and though this might help them relieve immediate stress, it does not help their condition and even makes it worse.
When the condition comes to a point where the individual experiences severe panic attacks, the phobia has caused a severe or significant dysfunction in their day to day lives to the point where they are unable to keep up with the demands of their lives due to their phobia, they are usually diagnosed with Specific Phobia disorder.
What are the symptoms of Anablephobia?
When it comes to this phobia, people with this fear of looking up often experience panic attacks or anxiety when they are faced with the thought of looking up at something or somewhere.
They might also struggle with situations where they need to look up and this might lead to distress and extreme and at times irrational fear.
When it comes to Anablephobia, the most prominent symptoms that are usually observable by the individual as well as others around them includes anxiety related behaviours.
When Individual feel threatened or triggered by external stimuli that requires them to look up at the sky, the clouds, or at objects and surfaces at an elevated level, might experience the following physical symptoms:
- hot flashes or chills
- shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- a choking sensation
- rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
- pain or tightness in the chest
- headaches and dizziness
- feeling faint
- numbness or pins and needles
- dry mouth
- ringing in your ears
- confusion or disorientation
In severe cases, it is also possible that such individuals might also be triggered into full blown panic attacks when they are under severe stress related to their fears which might require medical assistance in some cases.
It is also important to mention that when it comes to phobias, it does not only include physical symptoms but also symptoms related to their psychology.
These individuals affected by this phobia might engage in avoidance behaviours which involve them doing whatever they can, knowling and sometimes unknown, to ensure that they do not come in contact with their fears.
They might also engage in behaviours to ensure that they do not have to come across with situations that demand that they need to look up as well as behaviours that might ensure it from happening that they neglect their other areas of responsibility like their work, their personal relationships etc.
At some point they might develop other phobias, anxiety disorders such as panic disorder, social phobias, as well as agoraphobia if their symptoms cause much dysfunction in their lives, and because of this they might also develop a sense of hopelessness and eventually, depression.
What causes Anablephobia?
It has not been clearly determined what causes Anablephobia however, it is suspected that the phobia is caused by the following factors:
- Genetic vulnerability to anxiety and other mental disorders leads to significantly higher chances that the individual will develop this phobia.
- Family history of anxiety disorders.
- Past negative experiences, usually during developing years, related to a situation that involved objects in elevated levels etc.
- Traumatic experiences related to heights, falling, objects falling on them or even witnessing a traumatic event related to their fears. (Psychtimes)
How to cope with Anablephobia?
Here are a few things that you can do to cope with Anablephobia, provided that it is not causing any dysfunction of your day to day lives, and it is mild or manageable.
- Engaging in Rationalising your thoughts related to your fears and anxiety by making use of worksheets and workbooks related to anxiety and phobias while also putting forward real evidence to calm your anxieties.
- Exercises to help you calm down, expel excess energies, and to maintain an elevated and happy mood.
- Meditation and relaxation techniques to help you relax, and divert your attention to other aspects of your life apart from your irrational fears.
- Seeking out support from friends and family in the case that you find yourself extremely afraid. Reaching out to them, via phone call or asking them to be with you on days that the anxiety is really overpowering can be a good way to cope.
What are the treatment options for Anablephobia?
If your symptoms are debilitating or severe to the point where it is getting in the way of your day to day life, the most advisable thing you can do is to seek treatment from a mental health professional.
The treatment options for this particular phobia follow the same treatment as most Specific phobia treatments go.
You will have the option of engaging in Behavioural change techniques used in behavioural therapy as well as cognitive behavioural therapy techniques which have enough evidence that set them as good treatment options for anxiety and specific phobia disorders.
Cognitive behavioural therapy
In terms of Cognitive behavioural therapies your therapist will teach you how to regulate your negative and irrational thoughts when you come across triggers.
As you engage in therapy you will start learning to alter your thoughts, develop an awareness of how you feel, and as a consequence the way you react in situations where you are faced with a real or imagined trigger.
Rational Emotive Behavioural therapy
REBT is an action-oriented type of CBT that addresses unhealthy or irrational beliefs and attitudes that influence thoughts, emotions, and behaviours.
It follows the ABC model of developing an awareness about the processes that influenced the development of the phobia such as the activating event, the beliefs that were developed as a result and the consequences of those beliefs.
It uses a method known as “disputing” to assist individuals develop realistic and healthy beliefs and as a consequence develop the ability to rationalise their thoughts and their emotional and behavioural responses as well.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
MBSR is an evidence-based program that involves mindfulness training to help people who are suffering from anxiety and other mental health issues.
MBSR could be helpful in helping individuals deal with their phobia as it has been found to be effective in tackling anxiety issues in most cases.
The program involves teaching and training individuals to develop skills to cope with the ansirty or to reduce the intensity of the anxiety.
Exposure therapy involves you being placed in a non-dangerous state that allows you to come in contact with your triggers and trigger a phobia response. These situations differ in intensity and the constant explorer has been hypothesised to help you develop familiarity and reduce fear.
If your anxiety is extremely severe your doctor may prescribe you antidepressants or an anti-anxiety medication to assist your phobia treatment, your panic, and other physical symptoms.
These medications will most probably be prescribed to you in the case that you have been diagnosed with Specific phobia disorder, meaning that the phobia has now affected your life significantly.
In this blog we have discussed what Anablephobia is.
We have also explored the symptoms of this phobia, the causes of its development, and how to cope or manage this phobia.
FAQ related to Anablephobia
Why am I scared of the night?
Being afraid of the dark or the night is a common experience that usually starts in childhood and resolves during the developing years.
It arises primarily due to the unknown and when this has been resolved by supportive caregivers, this fear goes away however this fear can persist when the child has not been encouraged to overcome the fear of the unknown or has had negative experiences surrounding the dark or the night.
Why do I have a fear of being looked at ?
If you have a fear of being looked at it is possible that you have Scopophobia which is a common symptom related to social anxiety disorder as well as schizophrenia.
This fear comes along with the fear of other people making evaluations or speculations about you which can cause them to develop negative thoughts and intense anxiety.
What is Megalophobia?
Megalophobia is a specific phobia in which a person experiences intense fear of large objects. An individual with this fear experiences anxiety and in severe cases panic symptoms when they are faced with large objects such as buildings, statues, animals and vehicles.
What is the fear of the dark called?
The fear of the dark is known as Nyctophobia, also referred to as scotophobia, achluophobia, and lygophobia. It is believe that this fear is evolutionary because of the tendency of predators to haunt at night, an association that have been passed on.
Is Coulrophobia a word?
Yes, it is a word and Coulrophobia is the abnormal fear of clowns.
What is the most common phobia?
Arachnophobia, the fear of spiders, is possibly the most well-known and most common of all phobias.
What causes Neophobia?
Neophobia can be caused by the following:
- Overly restrictive Parental influence
- Over protectiveness by parents or guardians
- Lack of encouragement to try new things
- Childhood experiences with new things that ended up badly
- No guidance and support in the face of failures
At what age should a child stop being afraid of the dark?
Most kids usually outgrow their fear of the dark by ages 4 to 5 provided that they are part of an environment that is healthy, they feel safe, secure, and supported by the older individuals within the family and also provided that they have not had any negative experiences in the dark.
What is Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia?
Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia refers to the fear of long words and ironically, this word is one of the longest words in the dictionary.
What is the fear of pink?
The fear of the colour pink is called Rhodophobia.
Anablephobia. Phobia Wiki. Retrieved on 2nd February 2022. https://phobia.fandom.com/wiki/Anablephobia
Anablephobia (Fear of Looking Up). Psychtimes. Retrieved on 2nd February 2022. https://psychtimes.com/anablephobia-fear-of-looking-up/
Brookins. S. Fear of looking up. Anablephobia. Fear Of.org. Retrieved on 2nd February 2022. https://fearof.org/anablephobia/#Anablephobia_Symptoms