What is Angrophobia? (An Overview)
This blog contains an overview of Angrophobia, how it is caused, what are its symptoms and how it can be treated.
Angrophobia is an intense fear of getting angry. People who suffer from this phobia are always apprehensive of the fact that they will get angry at one thing or another.
They do not have any control on their anger and even if they think they will not display their displeasure they still end up showing anger.
People suffering from Angrophobia are always on the verge of berating into a rage and this state of theirs makes them feel fearful of their state.
Angrophobia limits the person’s interaction with people and negatively impacts his socialization.
He withdraws and recedes into himself, because he/she is afraid of their outbursts and tends to distance themselves.
Angrophobia is a common phobia where the person is severely fearful of his anger and thus refrains from meeting people or going out in the fear of having an outburst.
Anger, if uncontrolled can be disastrous. It can destroy lives and one will regret it later for the rest of his life.
Therefore, the person suffering from Angrophobia is so afraid of the bitterness spewed out by him that he will fear the regret that follows after the outburst.
Causes of Angrophobia
Angrophobia may be caused due to the following factors:-
- Genetic Predisposition
Every person has a genetic tendency to contract a disease or go through a mental illness. This predisposition is embedded in our DNA and is handed down to us over the generations.
If the person’s ancestors suffered from anxiety disorders, phobias, mental illness or even Angrophobia, then chances are higher for him/her to suffer from the same or from either of these.
Phobias are familial and most often than not run in families. Their intensity may vary from person to person, from one relative to the other.
People who are angry can pass on their genes to their next of kin.
- Biological Cause
Hormones play an important role in causing anxiety disorders, specifically phobias as well. Thyroid Stimulating Hormones (TSH) is directly related to the etiology of anxiety related problems that occur.
Symptoms that indicate a Thyroid malfunctioning are:
- Changes in menstrual cycle
- Nervous demeanor
- Losing or gaining weight
Low levels of Testosterone (male hormone) can also lead to anxiety.
Serotonin, is also called a happy chemical and depletion of this hormone can also cause anxieties of varying levels.
Dopamine, the ‘feel good’ chemical or neurotransmitter is involved in happiness and a state of elatedness.
When the levels of Dopamine drop anxiety and a feeling of dread become a common forte. Anger and irritability is very common when Dopamine levels are dwindled.
Adrenaline rush is another biological factor that emanates the ‘flight or the fight’ response. This response is triggered when the brain suffers from a threat.
This threat may be caused by a stimulus that causes anxiety. This stimulus is the very stimulus that initiates a phobia fear.
In the case of Angrophobia, this stimulus will be the anger.
- Behavioral Cause
Children learn behaviors and attitudes from people around them.
These people may be their parents, siblings, extended family members like uncles or aunts, grandparents or any significant others they are attached to.
In Angrophobia it is often found that if a member of the family or peer group is always angry, the child has been beaten by a parent out of anger, chances are that this child will later develop Angrophobia.
Angrophobia is common in people who have been raised in pathological families with one parent beating up their children out of anger on petty things.
- Traumatic Incidence/s
Angrophobia may also be caused due to an incident or accident that was caused as a consequence of anger.
The person or child may relate the incident and generalize anger to every situation that might resemble the actual scenario.
Anger is a highly negative emotion, it has never mended anything. Accidents have happened very frequently due to the state of mnd of the person who is angry.
- Media, Literature & Facts
Watching movies where it is shown how terrible the consequences of anger can be, scare the person and he starts fretting to an extent that he may develop Angrophobia.
Reading about the negative consequences of anger on health and social relations, the person starts fearing his own reactions and may this develop Angrophobia.
Symptoms of Angrophobia
Different people display the symptoms of the same phobia differently; with varying degrees of severity.
People suffering from Angrophobia tend to block their feelings of aggression or hatred, thus these negative emotions start building up inside and upon the least provocation they burst out in anger.
There are two types of symptoms; Physical symptoms and Psychological symptoms.
The Physical Symptoms include those that involve changes in the bodily sensations and are felt by the sufferer. Examples are:-
- rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
- Sweating and trembling
- dry mouth
- raised blood pressure
The Psychological Symptoms include those that impinge on the mind and are visible through a person’s behavior. Examples are:-
- feelings of dread
- fear of dying
- Intense guilt after the anger outburst
- Conflict as to what to be done
- fear of losing control
- fear of harm
- fear of illness
- feeling of helplessness
- mood swings
Therapeutic Interventions for Angrophobia
Phobias can be treated through a variety of therapeutic interventions. a) Systematic Desensitization b) Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) c) Neuro Linguistic Program (NLP) d) Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction MBSR) d) meditation e) medication
- Systematic Desensitization
This is one of the most common therapies used in treating phobias and an effective way to desensitize the person suffering from phobia.
In this therapy the client with phobia is exposed to the stimulus gradually with varying degrees of severity, varying durations of time.
The degree of severity is hierarchical,ranging from low to high. Every time the ‘exposure’ of the feared stimulus is increased.
In Angrophobia the client is exposed to images of toads first.
For the fear to be invoked during therapy, the patient must be exposed to an intense stimulus (one that is feared).
The aim of Systematic Desensitization is to remove the ‘feared stimulus’ and substitute it with a ‘relaxation response.’
Initially a relaxation technique that involves deep breathing is taught to the client.
Then the client is asked to present a list that has a hierarchical presentation of his fears, starting from the least fear evoking situation to the most.
The therapist takes the client through these situations via two methods:
a) In vitro – where the feared stimulus is made to imagine
b) In vivo – where the client visits the the feared place in reality
The exposure to the phobic stimulus is of varying durations, where the client exercises relaxation techniques and can revert to a previous non-threatening situation any time.
- Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
In CBT the therapist helps the client to amend his thoughts so that a desirable behavior can be achieved.
This therapy is effective, because if the thoughts or cognitions alter then there will be a lasting impact on behavior.
The client is asked to replace the irrational thought with a rational thought and catalogue or experience the emotion that follows.
The therapist helps the client to discover the reason for this thought and behavior that follows.
This therapy is goal oriented and short termed. Therefore, the results are seen soon. It changes the way a person thinks and feels.
CBT does not focus on probing the past to resolve current problems, rather it concentrates on the present situation.
Our thoughts determine how we act or react to certain stimuli and situations. Therefore, negative thoughts bring about a negative behavior response or an undesirable behavior.
Whereas, positive thoughts propagate desirable and healthy attitude and response.
The therapist separates the problem into parts. These may include: thoughts, feelings and actions.
Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)
Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) is a form of CBT and designed by Albert Ellis. According to Ellis, “people are not disturbed by things but rather by their view of things.”
This is what subjective perspective is.
c) Neuro Linguistic Program (NLP)
In this therapy the client is asked to
- Access the phobia in a safe environment.
- Help them to replay the phobia along with happy emotions.
- Disassociate from the phobia.
d) Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
MBSR involves being aware of one’s own thoughts, feelings and reducing the interference from around the environment.
We do not pay attention to how we process the various stimuli that affect us.
We do not process the way our bodies feel and respond, there is no focus on our thoughts and how these thoughts are influencing our emotions.
In MBSR, the client is ‘woken up’ to actually experience the various senses. ‘Focus’ is the keyword!
Alters the emotional attachment one has to his/her thoughts. This attachment is actually the root cause of Angrophobia and other phobias as well.
Meditation helps to disconnect is by far the quickest, most effective way to do this.
Meditation helps one to detach their thoughts from the emotional content of the phobia.
It helps overcome the negative emotion of anger and displace it with calmness through recurring relaxation strategies.
Positive imagery to substitute the negative emotions is really helpful in treating Angrophobia.
Meditation helps you to alleviate all irrational thoughts.
Relaxation and maintaining focus gives one the strength to press into the phobic fear and gain access so that it can be eroded, session by session.
e) Group Therapy
Group Therapy is one of the most effective treatments available for phobias. In this the client does not find himself as a lone sufferer.
These groups are individuals who are afflicted with the same types of phobias or anxieties.
They come together to share their thoughts, experiences and their coping mechanisms.
This also helps in developing a ‘sense of I am not the only one’ suffering.
f) Routine Modification
The person suffering from Bufonophobia is advised to alter his daily routine and bring about a change.
The change is always considered to be a healthy way of dealing with stress and phobias in particular.
- Adopt a walking regimen
- Induct exercise on a daily basis
- Alter eating and drinking habits
- Improving the sleep cycle
There are a number of medicines that the Psychiatrist can prescribe if the symptoms of Bufonophobia are severe and hinder the daily activities of the sufferer.
- Anxiolytics (anti-anxiety drugs)
These should only be taken after the consultation with the doctor and shouldn’t be initiated or discontinued as per personal discretion.
These medicines are not only used to treat depression, but also to alleviate the symptoms of Bufonophobia as well as other phobias.
Medicines alone might not be as effective, but if used in conjunction with therapies then the results will be better.
h) Anger Management
The process where the client is taught how to identify the anger signs; when they become angry or are becoming angry.
It also teaches them calming exercises and strategies on how to deal with such emotions positively and productively.
It actually teaches the appropriate way of expressing anger.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the fear of anger called?
The fear of anger is called Angrophobia.
Is anger a sign of fear?
Anger can be a sign of fear as well.
When people are actually afraid or fearful they tend to mask their insecurity with anger.
Is meditation more effective than CBT?
Meditation and CBT are equally effective for the treatment of Bufonophobia.
How different are frogs from toads?
The main difference between frogs and toads is the difference in their legs and skin
What part of the brain controls anger?
Amygdala stimulates the hypothalamus, just like the fear response.
Additionally, parts of the prefrontal cortex may also play a role in anger.