What is Microphobia?

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In this blog we will discuss what Microphobia 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 Microphobia?

Microphobia is the fear of small things.

Individuals with this particular phobia experience fear and anxiety when it comes to triggers that are small. 

Often small objects such as grains, sand particles, dust particles etcs and also includes microscopic organisms, such as germs, cells, or things that are so small that it is not observable by the naked eye can cause anxiety symptoms in them. 

This particular fear is different from Mysophobia or the fear of germs because they do not have a fear of being infected but rather they are just afraid of what these particles are inherently because of their fear of not being able to know or see what they are, where they are, and what they can do. 

Individuals with this fear often struggle with the mere idea of having to idealize small objects and unfamiliar places where they think small objects are present, 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 deal with such situations  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 Microphobia?

When it comes to this phobia, people with this fear of small things often experience panic attacks or anxiety when they are faced with the thought of dealing with small objects.

They might also struggle with situations where they need to touch items that are small or be in unfamiliar places where they suspect the presence of something small and microscopic. 

When it comes to Microphobia, 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 deal with small objects like small grains, dust, sand, or even small objects that is smaller than observable, 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 behaviours to ensure that they do not have to come across anything that is small 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 Microphobia?

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 small objects
  • Traumatic experiences related to small objects like getting extremely sick due to a certain type of microbe which has caused lasting impression on the individual. 
  • Because Microphobia is a learned fear, it can be a result of learned behaviour where the individual has learned this fear by observing someone else who has this fear. Usually the model would be someone close to the individual such as a parent or a caregiver who modelled the behaviours or fear when they were children. 
  • This particular fear of small things also arises due to the fear of not knowing or the fear of the unknown because at times the fear involves not being able to see due to small size. .

How to cope with Microphobia?

Here are a few things that you can do to cope with Microphobia, 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.
  • If there are fears related to microbes related to disease, precautions can be taken by clearing the space around them with disinfectant. 
  • 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 Microphobia?

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

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. 

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 Microphobia 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 Microphobia

 What is Microphobia?

Microphobia is a morbid fear of microbes or very tiny small things. 

What are symptoms of phobias?

Symptoms of phobias include:

  • feeling unsteady, dizzy, lightheaded or faint.
  • feeling of being choked
  • Palpitations or accelerated heart rate.
  • Chest pain or tightness in the chest.
  • Sweating.
  • hot or cold flushes.
  • shortness of breath or a smothering sensation.
  • nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea.
  • Feelings of doom

What triggers megalophobia?

Megalophobia can be triggered by the following:

  • Tall buildings, such as skyscrapers. 
  • Large statues and monuments. 
  • Large or vast natural features like mountains, volcanoes
  • Big boats, ships
  • Large vehicles like a truck

What is the fear of Nyctophobia?

Nyctophobia is an extreme fear of night. 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. 

What are the 3 types of phobias?

There are three categories of phobias: specific phobias, social phobias, and agoraphobia.

Why are kids scared of the dark?

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. 

References

Microphobia – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment. Expert Chikitsa. Retrieved on 2nd February 2022. https://expertchikitsa.com/microphobia-causes-symptoms-and-treatment/

What does Microphobia Mean: (A Complete Guide). Optimist Mind. Retrieved on 2nd February 2022. https://optimistminds.com/microphobia/

Microfobia: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments. Life Persona. Retrieved on 2nd February 2022.https://www.lifepersona.com/microfobia-symptoms-causes-and-treatments

Microphobia (Fear of Small Things). Psychtimes.  Retrieved on 2nd February 2022.https://psychtimes.com/microphobia-fear-of-small-things/

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