What is Algophobia
Algophobia is an abnormal fear of pain. The sufferer will have an overly irrational fear of all
types of pain from very minor to extreme trauma. It is often not the degree of pain that causes anxiety in the sufferer but rather the thought of experiencing any pain.
Algophobia can be very debilitating as it causes the sufferer to avoid certain situations and activities that they feel may result in pain. This could include outdoor activities, sports and moving around in the dark. Whilst normal individuals would be able to weigh the risks of such activities with the associated possible pain if something were to go wrong, an Algophobia sufferer will have an irrationally heightened fear. For example, the average person knows that walking through the house in the dark could result in a stubbed toe but it is a risk they are willing to take because they realise the pain will be relatively minor and short-lived. An Algophobia sufferer on the other hand will be filled with so much dread at the thought of stubbing their toe that they are rendered incapable of walking through the house in the dark. It is for this reason as with most phobias that Algophobia or the fear of pain can be so debilitating.
Symptoms of Algophobia
How to tell if you have Algophobia
You may be asking yourself how to tell if you have Algophobia? First let me say that if you are concerned that you could be suffering from Algophobia it is important that you seek professional medical advice. Algophobia can be a debilitating illness but there are treatment options.
Most normal people do have some degree of fear of pain because it is the bodies natural way of protecting us from doing stupid or dangerous things. When looking at how to tell if a person has Algophobia we need to consider whether the fear experienced is abnormally high. Think about a recent time you were going to take part in an activity that may cause pain. Did you experience any of these symptoms; increased heart rate, sweating, shortness of breath, uncontrolled behaviour or shaking? Where these reactions more extreme than others who faced the same activity? If yes, then these could be symptoms of Algophobia and you may want to consider other similar situations and look at your reactions. Perhaps you have become frozen with fear at the prospect of an activity.
Please be aware that fear of pain is normal and experiencing the symptoms above does not automatically mean you are an Algophobia sufferer. The activity we are talking about is not an extreme sport like sky diving. In that case the symptoms mentioned above would be completely normal in all but the most extreme adrenalin junkies. However, if you share the same fear of skydiving as you do cleaning the bathroom then it could be a sign of Algohobia.
Treatment of Algophobia
There are a number of treatments for Algophobia sufferers and if you are concerned that you may have it, rest assured, help is available. One of the most successful forms of treatment is psychotherapy. This involves meeting with a qualified mental health worker who can help the patient identify the root cause of the phobia and then analyse the symptoms. By acknowledging the irrational nature of the fear, patients are often able to overcome them and live a normal life. This is a great way to tackle any phobia as it does not require drugs and gets at the root cause of the issue rather than just the surface level symptoms.
Behavioural therapy is also an option and involves facing the fear head on in very small but increasing doses. This helps the patient realise the irrationality of the fear. It you truly are looking for a a treatment for Algophobia and are considering behavioural therapy, I suggest you seek professional help. This can be a traumatic way of curing a fear if not done correctly. Just because a child is afraid of the water doesn't mean they should be thrown into the pool. Likewise, if you are suffering from Algophobia, it doesn't mean bungee jumping will fix you overnight. Always seek medical advice first.
The above treatments will usually be explored before any form of drugs are used and are really the best and most permanent solutions.