You’ve probably never heard of the term “dementophobia” before. The word itself indicates that it is a phobia, a fear. Dementophobia means fear of madness (dementos – madness). You may have never even heard of someone fearing that they will go crazy because it is not a commonly known fear like the fear of spiders or snakes, but when you work as a therapist – it is just one of the symptoms. Experientially speaking, most people with some of the disorders from the anxiety spectrum (panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, etc.) are deeply worried or afraid that they will go crazy, ie that the symptoms they have will turn into something even worse. The reason is that the symptoms of panic or obsessive thoughts or the severity of anxiety can be so intense that it seems crazy, they already have a movie scene in their head taking them to psychiatry and the like.
Excessive fear of this kind can affect daily life and its quality. Quality of life is impaired because the fear of insanity can prevent an individual from leaving their home or keeping a job, withdrawing from society, and can become depressed.
The most common cause of dementophobia is a family history of the disease. A person who has experienced (in real life or watching movies) cruel treatment of people suffering from schizophrenia, manic depression, and other disorders, imprisoning them, abusing them, or something else that creates unpleasant feelings and an ugly image of mental illness. On the other hand, traumatic childhood experiences, such as murder, abuse, rape – can also lead to fear of insanity.
It is known that many celebrities, talented and ingenious personalities also had mental health problems. Such people are under public scrutiny and the world knows about their problems – the fight against drugs and alcohol, depression, anorexia, bulimia, marital crises, obsession with cosmetic procedures, pedophilia, etc. Of course, the fact that someone is rich and famous does not mean that more or less prone to mental health problems. Each of us carries a certain risk of experiencing a crisis in certain circumstances, but because of the stigma, it carries you won’t hear from your friends as often as you hear the same in entertainment shows. Celebrity mental health is the topic of entertainment shows, it’s something that makes viewership or readership grow. However, it is commendable that more and more celebrities are starting to speak publicly about their fight against, for example, postpartum depression, bulimia, etc., noticing the need for destigmatized mental health to be destigmatized.
This topic is very important, as is removing stereotypes like that all mentally ill people are aggressive, hear voices, or say strange things. Today we can say that the development of new generations of drugs, but also the availability of various forms of psychotherapy helps prevent mental illness, reduce symptoms, alleviate the problems of patients and their families, and despite “difficult” diagnoses can still live a quality life.
It is clear why people are afraid of madness if we know that mental illness is so stigmatized if we regularly watch mentally ill people do criminal things in movies and if we identify sufferers with their illnesses by calling them “schizophrenic”, “neurotic”, “panic”. Would you make fun of someone who has had cancer or diabetes, or might you tell a heart patient that he is to blame for himself and that he is “jerking off”? Just as you associate diabetes with the amount of sugar in the body, so do schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, panic look through the levels and functioning of various hormones and chemical transporters such as serotonin, dopamine …
Symptoms of dementophobia
Fear of insanity usually includes feelings of low mood, depression, anxiety, but also panic at the very thought of insanity – which is intensified by interacting with a person who has mental health problems or reading or watching something about mental disorders, fear of “imprisonment in psychiatry. ” , fear of losing reason.
It is a real art to learn to control and treat the fear of madness. But a combination of medication and psychological counseling reliably prevents the anxiety associated with this condition. A person suffering from this fear should be educated about various mental disorders, especially those they fear the most. Many modern therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy are useful for treating phobias through understanding fear. Other techniques used to treat dementophobia are hypnotherapy and NLP. Both techniques can help get to the core of the phobia and reduce the frightening thoughts and symptoms associated with them.