The current blogspot will be based on the question “ what is phasmophobia?”. We will discuss the various symptoms related to phasmophobia, the causes of phasmophobia, the effects of phasmophobia on life and the various treatment options available for people with phasmophobia.
What is phasmophobia?
Phasmophobia is a type of specific phobia that is related to the fear of ghosts. It is an intense and irrational fear of ghosts that is prevalent among humans and is diagnosed under the category of anxiety disorders in the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders 5th Edition.
Under phasmophobia the individuals feel an intense state of anxiety when they think they are surrounded by ghosts. The anxiety can exacerbate a panic attack in the individual. Such individuals believe the ghosts and supernatural creatures to be true though they don’t have any evidence related to them.
Due to the strong belief about the reality of the existence of ghosts, such individuals get terrified often and the triggers range from a mere mention of ghosts or spooky places to the extreme of visiting any dark and quiet places which the individual might believe to have been occupied by ghosts.
Suffering from phasmophobia, individuals tend to take all the necessary precautions and follow all the tips and techniques that they feel may save them from being attacked by ghosts. Often, individuals under phasmophobia tend to avoid places and gatherings which they feel have a caste upon them or are under the influence of ghosts. They often might go to various spiritual healers, magicians and religious scholars to learn various prayers and mantras that might help them save them from being attacked by ghosts.
Under phasmophobia, due to the repeated thoughts about being attacked by ghosts and repeated behaviors to avoid being attacked by ghosts, individuals have a greater tendency to develop features of obsessive compulsive disorder or full blown obsessive compulsive disorder.
Phasmophobia is studied under the branch of psychology related to parapsychology.
What are the symptoms of phasmophobia?
Inorder to diagnose phasmophobia, the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorder’s criteria for specific phobia needs to be considered. The specific phobia that comes under the anxiety disorders is a type of phobia that is specifically related to a single thing. Since phasmophobia is a fear of ghosts it can also be explained and diagnosed by the criteria of specific phobia as under:
- The fear is persistent and excessive that results in either avoidance of the situation or extreme distress.
- The fear related to any object is self limiting and has a negative impact on the person’s ability to function well in the various spheres of life
- Symptoms related to fear of a specific object are present for six months or longer and are not better explained by any other related mental disorder.
Phasmophobia has the following prominent symptoms among the individuals:
- Extreme fear
- Severe anxiety
- Self isolation
- Panic attacks
- Fear of being alone
- Increased heart rate upon the thought of or mention of ghosts
- Obsessive thoughts related to ghosts
- Compulsive actions to prevent oneself from being attacked by ghosts
- Depressive features
- May develop hallucinations related to their obsessions
- Adrenaline rush that causes the individual to fight or flight from the situation due the strong irrational belief of presence of ghosts.
- Muscular tension
- Fainting to avoid the situation
What are the effects of phasmophobia on routine life?
The effects of phasmophobia on an individual’s routine life are as follows :
- Inability to concentrate well on the life areas
- A predisposition to develop magical thinking
- Have obsessive and irrational fear related to non existent ghosts
- Develop compulsive and ritualistic behaviors that might disturb others and the individual
- Impaired executive functioning
- Impaired adaptive functioning
- Impaired socialization
- Impaired occupational functioning
- Disturbed interpersonal skills
- Disturbed intrapersonal skills
What are the causes of phasmophobia?
Phasmophobia is believed to be caused by genetics and environmental factors that are :
- Genetic predisposition
- Family history of anxiety disorders or specific phobias
- Diathesis Stress relationship that explains that genetic predisposition causes the phasmophobia to result in response of a triggering event
- Other phobias that might lead to phasmophobia due to isolation and avoidance. For example fear of night time or fear of darkness
- Disturbed neurochemicals in brain
- Various childhood experiences that can act as later triggering events that develop feelings of fear song individuals
- Hallucinations related to a loved one who is no more alive
- Religious and cultural beliefs related to existence of supernatural beings
- Horror movies might trigger response of fear related to ghosts
- Magical thinking that explains all good and bad happening in life due to magical effects
- Supernatural beliefs that some supreme creatures are controlling us and the supernatural beings can attack humans
What are the treatment options for phasmophobia?
Phasmophobia, being an irrational fear of ghosts, has some limitations to its treatment through conventional psychological interventions and techniques. However, following treatment options have been considered to be beneficial by the counselors and psychotherapists :
- Cognitive behavior therapy
- Mindfulness based stress reduction
- Dialectical Behavior therapy
- Yoga/ Meditation
Cognitive behavior therapy
The cognitive behavior therapy is a form of therapy that can be used to treat phasmophobia. The cognitive behavior therapy is often used to treat patients with specific phobia disorder. Since phasmophobia involves irrational fear of ghosts, the patients are facilitated to restructure their irrational thoughts into more rational ones through cognitive behavior therapy.
Exposure and response prevention and progressive muscle relaxation techniques are some of the techniques used in cognitive behavior therapy to help the individuals suffering from phasmophobia.
Drug therapy is a form of treatment option for the clients with phasmophobia. Mostly antidepressant drugs and anti anxiety drugs are administered to the patients of phasmophobia. These drugs usually take 1-2 weeks to show possible decline in the anxiety and depression features of phasmophobia.
Psychotherapy tends to facilitate the treatment of phasmophobia. The patients are helped with social support to identify their irrational thoughts and overcome their underlying feelings of fear, anxiety and worry related to irrational fear of ghosts.
Through psychotherapy the patients of phasmophobia learn coping skills for managing their fears and associated feelings. The panic attacks and the exacerbated anxiety are reduced through various interventions.
Psychotherapy often involves religious counseling, guided visualization and breathing exercises that aids in overcoming distress related to the triggers.
Mindfulness based stress reduction
The mindfulness based stress reduction strategy tends to help the individuals of phasmophobia by helping them overcome the distress through relaxation using their 5 senses of touch, smell, taste, sight and hearing.
Hence the individuals suffering from phasmophobia are able to shift their focus from the tensed states of anxiety and distress related to ghosts towards more relaxing and calming body sensations.
Dialectical Behavior therapy
Dialectical behavior therapy is a form of therapy that is helpful for people suffering from phasmophobia.It aids in stress reduction helps the patients of phasmophobia through identification of triggers and choosing alternative behaviors related to those triggers. The patients are counseled to smile instead of getting worried whenever their fear is triggered. They are also taught to tolerate their distress through various distress tolerance exercises.
Yoga and meditation help the individuals to overcome their stress and reduce anxiety by focusing on the positive aspects of their being. Individuals suffering from phasmophobia are aided to direct their negative distress towards more positive aspects and thus be more productive and calm.
The current blogspot focused on the phasmophobia, its causes, symptoms and treatment options. We learned how phasmophobia can affect our daily routine life and how the quality of life can be enhanced for people with phasmophobia.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs): Phasmophobia
What does phasmophobia mean?
Phasmophobia is the fear of ghosts, vampires and witches. The fear is usually irrational and has no factual basis.
Is phasmophobia scary?
Phasmophobia is an intense and irrational fear of ghosts among people. People with phasmophobia are so fearful that the mere mention of spooky things, supernatural events, ghosts, witches, vampires and any parapsychological phenomena is enough to trigger the fear.
How can we get over phasmophobia?
Inorder to get over phasmophobia, following treatment options are available:
Cognitive behavior therapy
Learning effective coping strategies