What is Chronophobia?
Chronophobia is a fear of time and the passing of time. It is classified as an anxiety disorder as the phobia results in severe anxiety.
Unlike other phobias, chronophobic is always in contact with the thing they are afraid of. It can be a serious and debilitating condition. The idea can appear anytime and the person can develop symptoms at any moment.
Chronophobia is considered a specific phobia, which is an anxiety disorder characterized by a powerful and unwarranted fear of something which is of no danger but can bring in avoidance or anxiety. Other types of specific phobia are fear of dogs, bridges, airplanes, needles, blood draws, heights, and storms. According to The National Institute of Mental Health, 12.5 percent of the US adults at some time in their lives experience a specific phobia.(1)
The symptoms are triggered by even thinking of phobia. The fear leads to an increase in the brain’s autonomous nervous system, which leads to a series of changes in the individuals functioning. A chronophobic presents the following symptoms such as,
- Rapid heart rate
- Dizziness, nausea, vomiting
- Dry mouth
- Overwhelming fear, anxiety, and panic
- Difficulty in breathing
- Knowing that the fear is exaggerated but not being aware of how to manage it
- Nightmares or sleep disturbances
- Difficulty in functioning normally
There are certain times in life which can intensify the anxiety in a chronophobic which are:
- High school graduation
- Milestone birthday
- Wedding anniversary
Who Are At Risk Of Chronophobia?
- As the chronophobia is linked to time, it is quite logical that the following individuals are at risk of it.
- Senior citizens or the people facing some terminal illness, as they worry about the time left to live.
- People in prison become chronophobic when contemplated about the length of their incarceration.
- Those experiencing a natural disaster.
- Many scientists believe that genetic factors also play a role in the development of this disorder.
Treatment for Chronophobia
Chronophobia can be a cause of isolation, social disorder, alcohol or drug misuse, and depression. Therefore, it is important to seek advice from a qualified mental health professional.
Cognitive behavior therapy, psychotherapy, and hypnotherapy can be really helpful in treating specific phobias. The most commonly used therapy for chronophobia is cognitive therapy as it involves correction of thoughts and ideas of passing time, which forms a fundamental in overcoming the fear.
There are few things which can be considered to overcome this phobia.
Meditation provides a wide range of health benefits, especially to the cases suffering from anxiety. It helps regulate emotions effectively.
Mindfulness exercises encourage a person with chronophobia to live the present moment to the fullest. It can prove to be a powerful weapon against anxiety about the future.
Understanding About The Phobia
Understanding or learning more about the fear you are suffering from and helps in recognizing the triggers and phobia development. It also helps in keeping a track of thoughts and associated feelings.
Along with this, continuing with the counseling session is also very important for those suffering from chronophobia.
Make a List Of Things That Can Be Controlled
Focus and jot down the things which you can control. This gives a sense of empowerment.
Challenge Your Phobia
If you can be able to challenge your phobia, it may seem smaller and less significant.
Speaks with the family and friends about the phobia and the symptoms you face often. Things start scaring less once they are out of our secret bag.
Though specific phobia does not call for treatment, a specialist can give an insight or recommendation to help.