Fear Of Disorder (Ataxophobia): Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

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The world of mental disorders is complex, and there are many types. One of the most common are anxiety disorders, which include different kinds. Among these types of disorders, phobias stand out which are irrational and persistent fears that can seriously affect the life of the person who suffers from them.

Today We will talk about the extreme fear of disorder, known as ataxophobia and we will explain its causes, symptoms and treatment.

Fear of disorder: what is it?

Phobias are irrational and persistent fears that lead a person to avoid the feared stimulus in an attempt to reduce discomfort that he experiences in his presence. But there are many phobias, because people can develop irrational fears towards any object, animal or situation. A spider, a clown, interacting with other individuals and even toward clutter or untidy items, whether physical or not, can cause phobias.

Phobias can be classified as complex or simple. Within the latter, specific phobias stand out, which occur when the person has contact or imagines a specific situation, animal or object, such as the fear of flying, the fear of insects and the fear of disorder that we talk about in this article. Complex phobias are social phobias and agoraphobia.

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Causes of this phobia

The causes of phobias often go unnoticed, because these disorders They usually develop through a type of implicit learning, known as classical conditioning. It occurs when the individual experiences a traumatic event (conditioned stimulus) that provokes strong emotional reactions (what is known as an unconditioned response).

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In cases in which an irrational fear develops, the phobic stimulus, which is originally a neutral stimulus, is associated with the unconditioned stimulus, which turns the phobic stimulus into a conditioned stimulus that begins to provoke the initially unconditioned response, which passes to be called the conditioned response (the experience of fear).

While it is true that most phobias develop in this way, it can also happen that the phobia is produced by another type of learning known as vicarious conditioning. In this case, it is not the person who develops this phobia who experiences the traumatic event, but rather the phobic. watch how another person goes through this traumatic situation In this sense, vicarious conditioning is a type of observational learning. You can learn more in our article “Vicarious conditioning: how does this type of learning work?”

On the other hand, phobia experts claim that fear is an adaptive emotion, which has been really useful for the survival of the species. But fear occurs due to primitive associations in the primitive brain and not in the neocortex (related to logical thinking). That is why phobias do not respond to logical arguments and the treatment is characterized by exposure techniques, in which the patient has to face the feared stimulus by exposing himself to it.

Symptoms of ataxophobia

There can be many types of phobias; However, these disorders usually share the same symptoms, which can be classified as cognitive, behavioral, and physical. The experience of fear, the anguish that the person feels, the confusion lack of concentration or catastrophic thoughts are some common cognitive symptoms.

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The main behavioral symptom is the attempt to avoid the feared stimulus. As for the physical symptoms, it is possible to highlight: muscle tension, headache, shortness of breath and hyperventilation, nausea, among others.

Treatment and therapy

Phobias are very common disorders, but they have a good prognosis if they receive the appropriate treatment. Except in extreme cases, the application of drugs should never be the first therapeutic option. In fact, phobias respond very well to psychological therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy, according to scientific studies, is usually sufficient for the patient to be able to cope with the feared stimulus.

There are different Cognitive behavioral techniques that work well for the treatment of phobias Relaxation techniques and exposure techniques are the most effective. Now, a technique that combines both is cognitive desensitization, widely used in these cases.

Cognitive desensitization consists of exposing the patient to the feared stimulus gradually, but first they must learn different coping strategies such as relaxation techniques.

However, other therapeutic methods seem to produce great results. Among the ones who Cognitive therapy based on Mindfulness and acceptance and commitment therapy stand out You can learn more in our articles: