What is dystychiphobia?

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In this blog we will discuss what dystychiphobia 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 dystychiphobia?

Dystychiphobia refers to the excessive fear of having an accident. 

The individual who has this phobia tends to struggle with anxious thoughts, irrational fears related to the possibility of getting into an accident even when it is unlikely to happen and this in turn disrupts their quality of life. 

This phobia encompasses all forms of accidents- be it within the home, outside, in a car, walking down the street etc and because it encompasses every situation and possibility, it can become restricting and debilitating. 

The person with this fear often struggles with the thoughts related to the accident itself, the possibility of it, the consequences of the accident as well and is often seen individuals who have been in a serious or near-fatal accident in the past or having witnessed a loved one being in a form of accident. 

In severe cases, individuals with this fear would struggle with a lot of anxiety regarding the safety of themselves, their loved ones, or even the things they own, and at times they might even struggle with feeling safe in their own house.

This fear also gets in the way of their daily lives, their social relationships, and their careers because of their fear of something happening to them at work, or to their loved ones, or their day to day lives. 

It is likely that individuals with Dystychiphobia would often obsess over issues related to safety and engage in precautionary behaviours such as being extra careful, taking too much time ensuring safety, avoiding the use of items that are essential but could possibly cause accidents, as well as being overly protective of their loved ones to avoid accidents. 

While it is possible that this particular phobia can be a result of PTSD of a situation that they were victims of, or from observing other individuals who have been affected by an accident, including loss of loved one from the accident.  

However, it is also possible that this fear might arise without any negative experiences as listed above and this fear might have developed due to other causes, one being too much media consumption related to accidents. 

What are the symptoms of dystychiphobia?

When it comes to dystychiphobia, the most prominent symptoms that are usually observable by the individual as well as others around them includes anxiety related behaviours. 

Individuals with this particular phobia exhibit the following signs:

  • They are afraid of accidents- any kind in general while others are afraid of specific accidents like car accidents etc. 
  • They experience a fear of being out of control
  • Experience fear of dying
  • Do things that involve avoiding situations that they believe would cause an accident like avoiding riding in cars or touching knives.
  • Be overly anxious in social settings where they are unfamiliar with because they are afraid that an accident will happen. 

When Individual feel threatened or triggered by external stimuli that resembles their fear of getting into an accident, they might experience the following physical symptoms:

  • sweating
  • trembling
  • hot flashes or chills
  • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • a choking sensation
  • rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
  • pain or tightness in the chest
  • nausea
  • headaches and dizziness
  • feeling faint
  • numbness or pins and needles
  • dry mouth
  • ringing in your ears
  • confusion or disorientation
  • hyperventilation

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 repetitive behaviours to ensure safety, lose sleep over it, and also be so occupied with this fear and doing many things to prevent 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 dystychiphobia?

It has not been clearly determined what causes dystychiphobia however, it is suspected that the phobia is caused by the following factors:

  • Genetic vulnerability to anxiety and other mental disorders.
  • Family history of anxiety disorders
  • Past negative experiences, related to being part of an accident that was near fatal.
  • Witnessing a loved one or someone else being in an accident
  • Experience loss and death due to an accident. 
  • Being exposed to too much media related to accidents.

How to cope with dystychiphobia?

Here are a few things that you can do to cope with dystychiphobia, 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. 
  • 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 dystychiphobia?

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) for Scelerophobia

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 anxiety or to reduce the intensity of the anxiety. 

Exposure therapy

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 exposure to various situations where the individual fears and accident will happen has been hypothesised to help you develop familiarity and reduce fear. 

Pharmacological treatment

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. 

Conclusion

In this blog we have discussed what dystychiphobia 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 dystychiphobia

Is Anthropophobia serious?

Anthropophobia is the fear of other people and it is not serious until it causes dysncitn in your life like being unable to maintain your relationships, go to work etc. 

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.

What are the symptoms of Chronophobia?

Symptoms of Chronophobia include:

  • feelings of overwhelming fear, anxiety, and panic.
  • awareness that your fears are unwarranted or exaggerated but feeling helpless to manage them.
  • difficulty functioning normally because of your fear.
  • rapid heart rate.
  • sweating.
  • difficulty breathing.
  • Even panic attacks in severe cases. 

What is Agliophobia?

Algophobia or algiophobia is a phobia of pain where the indidviauls fear of pain is at an irrational level and can get in the way of them carrying out their lives due to this fear of being in pain. 

What’s the difference between social phobia and anthropophobia?

Social phobia refers to a fear of social situations due to fear of being judged and evaluated whereas Anthropophobia involves fear of people in general. 

Why am I afraid of everything all of a sudden?

Fear or being afraid is a general psychological response to stress. If you are stressed, it is possible that you might be feeling anxious and afraid suddenly. 

How to cope with social phobia?

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. 

References

Fritscher.L. What Is Dystychiphobia? VerywellMind. Retrieved on 2nd February 2022. https://www.verywellmind.com/fear-of-accidents-2671778#toc-treatment

Ekokotu. E. Dystychiphobia: The Fear of Accidents. PhobiaFor. Retrieved on 2nd February 2022. https://phobiafor.com/dystychiphobia/

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