Agliophobia is probably one of the trickiest phobias to “diagnose” because of the fear, specifically. Agliophobia is the fear of pain. Clearly, no one really enjoys pain and many people do their best to avoid it. However, some people do reach a certain point where this fear grows too much.
There is a fine line between a simple fear and a phobia. Phobias, unlike simple fears, and more-so an extension of a simple fear, are morbid and irrational. Furthermore, they can often consume people’s well-beings. People become completely obsessed with phobias, and do everything in their power to avoid the specific stimulus, pain in this case.
What are the symptoms of Agliophobia?
Just like with any other phobia, symptoms of Agliophobia vary by the individual. Different levels of fear or ability to cope with fear make the determination of how many, and to what severity, of symptoms the person experiences.
Agliophobia sufferers will do almost anything to avoid situations which could potentially lead to the slightest bit of pain. This phobia also leads them to fear everyday objects, such as needles. They have the irrational mindset that pain is existent in many situations that it truly is not, or that the pain is worse than it actually is.
Furthermore, when faced with pain, people with Agliophobia are prone to panic attacks. Panic attacks are moments of heightened anxiety, although Agliophobia sufferers often experience a constant state of anxiety. Symptoms of panic attacks include rapid heart beat, weakness, fainting, dizziness, tingling or numbness in the hands, an extreme sense of terror, excessive sweating, chills, chest pain, difficulty breathing, and feeling a loss of control. Again, delusions are very common in these conditions.
What are the causes of Agliophobia?
As is the case with symptoms, causes of Agliophobia can vary from person to person. The most common cause of any phobia is past trauma associated with the feared object, especially with Agliophobia. Pain and trauma can go together in many different situations, such as a car crash, broken bone or other injury, etc.
Certain people are also genetically predisposed to be more sensitive to pain. Some people have a very high pain tolerance while others, like those that suffer Agliophobia, have a very low one. This low pain tolerance can often lead to the individual perceiving the pain as much worse than it truly is, and becoming extremely fearful of pain.
Some people are also simply very squeamish. It is hard for them to handle any sort of pain or physical trauma, due to mental status and not genetic (physical) predisposition. Of course, these are not the only causes of Agliophobia.
How does one treat Agliophobia?
The best treatment for Agliophobia depends upon the individual. However, there are some common treatments that work for many people.
Various types of therapy can help. Therapy can serve as a suppressant of phobic symptoms, as well as a way of determining the root of the phobia, if it is not physical. Types of therapy include Cognitive-Behavioral therapy, group therapy, Neuro-Linguistic programming, etc.
Relaxation methods can also help alleviate both fear and pain. Pain management is an excellent tool for combating Agliophobia. Calming the mind and body can help to decrease the amount of physical pain felt, and, therefore, the mental anxiety that comes with it. Relaxation techniques include yoga, meditation, listening to music, exercising, stretching, etc.
Lastly, medication is often prescribed to alleviate anxiety or panic attacks associated with Agliophobia. An interesting phenomenon occurs which shows that when people are stressed or anxious about pain, the physical pain actually increases. Pain medication can also be prescribed for those who are physically more sensitive to pain. Consulting with a doctor is always a great start.