What is Amaxophobia?
Amaxophobia is a type of fear where a person develops an unreasonable fear of an accident or death while driving a vehicle or riding in vehicle. Amaxophobia is also referred as hamaxophobia, ochophobia or motorphobia. Such people are always thinking about getting trapped inside a vehicle. Thus, they always look to avoid taking a ride as part their routine whether it is going to friend's house or job. This can limit their options and opportunities in life.
People suffering from amaxophobia can panic all of a sudden without any reason. Some other common symptoms of amaxophobia include nausea, headache, dizziness, feeling of fear and terror, panic attacks while driving in a vehicle.
There are various treatment options for treating amaxophobia including therapies such as cognitive "tapping" therapy. The basic idea behind the treatment is to get rid of the negative memories that have resulted into this fear of amaxophobia. Psychotherapy is another treatment option for amaxophobia where the counselor talks to the person about his fears. Some medications such as anti-depressants are also used to suppress the fear.
Causes of Amaxophobia
There can be various reasons that may have caused amaxophobia such as bad experience or a traumatic event. Amaxophobia can affect people in any age group including children and adults. Any incident of driving in a car or other vehicle can trigger panic attack in such individuals. Reading about a car accident in a newspaper can also develop a fear for driving. Further exposure to gory images of the people injured or died in the accident can add up to the fear.
Symptoms of Amaxophobia
While some people may feel fearful only after embarking a car, some dread car photos or images and some with an extreme fear of riding in a car may even not like any mention about cars. Some common symptoms of amaxophobia are as follows:
- Feeling uneasy
- Short of Breath
- Loss of control
- Sweating too much
- Dry mouth
- Fast heartbeat
Constant exposure to fear can make the symptoms of amaxophobia worse and the person may even start fearing about death.
Diagnosis for Amaxophobia
Any type of phobia cannot be detected by lab tests. A medical expert needs to perform clinical interview of a person under certain guidelines to diagnose amaxophobia. The doctor considers the medical and psychiatric history and symptoms to detect amaxophobia.
American Psychiatric Association has published certain standard criteria in Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders that needs to be met to verify Amaxophobia in a person. Insurance companies also rely on the same manual to settle reimbursement occurring in treatment.
The standard Diagnostic criteria defined for amaxophobia are as follows:
- A fear or panic resulting out of certain situations such as flying, driving etc… or objects such as snake, water etc.
- An immediate panic attack when exposed to certain fear.
- An unreasonable fear of any object is situation that is beyond explanation.
- Tendency to avoid certain situations or objects that trigger panic.
- A persistent fear to objects or situations for duration of more than six months.
Treatment for Amaxophobia
Amaxophobia can be treated by various therapies and medications. Behavioral therapy is an effective treatment options that tries to make sure that the behavior of the person remains normal when faced with his or her fears. The medical expert talks to the person about the fear so that he can face the situation without any panic. It works by getting rid of negative thoughts from the brain from the amaxophobia affected person. Psychotherapy is also a preferred treatment option for amaxophobia where the medical expert discusses about the fear and prepares him or her to face fears. Some medications including anti-depressants are also used along with the suitable therapies to take care of the symptoms of amaxophobia.
Risk Factors for Amaxophobia
The following factors can increase the risk of developing amaxophobia:
- Children who are less than 10 years old have higher risk of developing amaxophobia.
- If you watch someone behaving abnormally to a situation of object again and again, there are chances that you can also develop the same fear in your behavior. Thus, there is a high risk of developing amaxophobia if you have someone in the family suffering from this phobia.
- Your attitude and your sensitivity to situations can also make you an easy candidate of amaxophobia.
- Confronting a traumatic situation can sometimes result into the fear to those situations or objects involved in the scene.
Complications of Amaxophobia
It can be extremely difficult for a person suffering from amaxophobia to behave or act normally. Someone watching from a distant may not realize the seriousness of the situation but the person undergoing the fear struggles to lead a normal life. Below are the complications of amaxophobia:
- People suffering from amaxophobia tend to isolate themselves from the society. It makes them feel lonelier and also affects their performance at school, college or their workplace.
- As the person finds themselves alone, he starts to develop depression.
- The person may also start to take drugs out of depression.
- The level of fear can sometimes increase to extreme levels triggering thoughts to suicide.
Prevention of Amaxophobia
If there are children in your home, they can easily develop the same amaxophobia by looking at your behavior. Thus, it becomes essential to get treated for your amaxophobia as soon as possible to prevent it from spreading. You can seek psychological help from a counselor to get rid of the amaxophobia out of your mind and learn to face your fears. However, amaxophobia is not transferred genetically from parents into the children.