What is Dinophobia? (An Overview)
In this blog we will discuss the symptoms, causes and treatment of Dinophobia.
A fear of dizziness is called Dinophobia. Dizziness is a sign of weakness or low blood pressure.
People are conscious of fainting or being dizzy because the feelings of helplessness they cause are very unpleasant.
People are scared of feeling dizzy because of the feelings of fatigue, muscle pain and or fainting it might result in.
Though, people suffering from this specific phobia feel extreme anxiety when exposed to dizziness.
Because Dinophobia comes under the category of anxiety disorders in the DSM-V, one gets extremely anxious at the mere thought of dizziness or whirlpools.
These overwhelmingly high levels of anxiety cause hindrances in the sufferers day-to-day activities.
According to the DSM-V, hurdles in daily activities are called social and occupational dysfunction.
Repetitive avoidance, caused by anxiety is what leads to this dysfunction.
For example, one will avoid going out on a sunny day for the fear that sweat and excessive work might lead to dizziness.
Someone suffering from Dinophobia will refrain from doing exercise or energy consuming work.
An individual will for example avoid going to school or take part in sports activities because they fear they might feel dizzy.
Also, one will also consume more energy drinks or medicines which might cause other health problems in the future.
These avoidances and social occupational dysfunction can make the sufferer feel safe and pleasant.
This sense of security maintains their phobia because it proves to them that their fear stimulus is dangerous and threatening.
Though, these feelings are short-lived. In the future, an individual is very likely to develop OCD and or depression.
An individual suffers from misery, which can give rise to full-blown panic attacks if exposed to dizziness. One may require hospitalization as a result.
Dinophobia is an irrational fear of dizziness or whirlpools. It is a type of specific phobia which comes under the category of anxiety disorders.
A sufferer experiences extreme anxiety when exposed to their fear stimuli.
Symptoms of Dinophobia
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders-5th Edition (DSM-V) suggests a number of symptoms one suffers from in all specific phobias, including Dinophobia.
This irrational fear of dizziness is a part of anxiety disorders, thus anxiety is it’s focal symptom.
It aggravates other physiological symptoms, such as heart rate, breathing rate and one’s mood.
These symptoms persuade the repetitive acts of avoidance as mentioned earlier.
Because each individual experiences Dinophobia differently (based on their past experiences), one will suffer from more severe symptoms , as compared to someone else.
Dinophobia is not wholly irrational because of the fact that it might be a signal of some impending serious health condition and people fear it because of the consequences one may face.
However, people who suffer from this phobia are unable to rationalize their fear, thus experiencing overwhelming symptoms.
According to the DSM-V, anxiety that one experiences in Dinophobia should last for at least 6-months.
Other than this, one should also suffer from 3-5 symptoms for the list mentioned below.
- Excessive anxiety when exposed to dizziness
- Excessive anxiety when thinking about dizziness
- Inability to manage anxiety
- Full-blown panic attacks
- Avoiding getting dizzy
- Increased heart beat
- Muscle tension
- Feelings of dizziness/fainting
- Feeling depressed
- Fear of an impending doom
- Excessive sweating
- Hot/cold flashes
- Butterflies in the stomach
- Drying up of the mouth
Causes of Dinophobia
It is argued that all anxiety disorders, including specific phobias have no real cause.
They are caused by either a genetic predisposition and or environmental factors.
According to the genetic/biological model, specific phobias are developed due to a genetic predisposition.
Someone who has a family history of anxiety disorder has a higher chance of developing Dinophobia.
This is because any alteration in the genes of his parents will be transferred to him.
This genetic tendency to develop a specific phobia is further explained by the Diathesis-stress relationship.
This suggests that someone with a genetic predisposition will develop Dinophobia only in the presence of the correct environmental trigger event.
Those environmental trigger events refer to the past-traumatic experiences associated with one’s fear stimuli.
For example, someone who suffers from a health condition will be fearful of getting dizzy because it might lead to serious consequences for them.
Someone who has seen or heard someone die after getting dizzy (maybe because they suffered from a health problem) will develop Dinophobia.
Additionally, people who suffer from Asthenophobia (fear of weakness or fainting) and or Illness Anxiety Disorder (IAD) are very likely to have this irrational fear.
Therefore, Dinophobia has no definite cause. It can be developed by both genetics and environmental factors.
Treatment of Dinophobia
Dinophobia, like all other specific phobias, has no exclusive type of treatment that is specifically designed to treat it.
Like all the other specific phobias, Dinophobia is treated by a number of different ways.
- Psychological Treatment
• Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
It is one of the most frequently used treatments for patients with almost all kinds of mental disorders.
Dinophobia is defined as the irrational fear of dizziness. Thus, the therapist helps the patient in replacing these irrational thoughts with more rational ones.
The patients are helped out in analyzing and justifying the way they feel about their fear stimuli.
Therapists assist them in uncovering the reasons behind their fear and later they provide them with alternate, pleasant thoughts.
The patient is told to maintain a thought diary (with ABCD column) which provides them a replacement for every irrational thought they have, when thinking about a particular situation. The ABCD stands for:
i. A (antecedents) a situation or triggering event.
ii. B (belief) the thought that comes to one’s mind when in that triggering situation.
iii. C (consequences) the symptoms/feelings caused by that event/thought
iv. D (dispute) alternate, rational thoughts provided by the therapist in an attempt to dispute/challenge those irrational beliefs.
This last section of the thought diary is what really plays a role in helping the person feel good/less anxious.
They are not just one of the many treatment therapies used for Dinophobia, instead they are one of the most common ways of relaxation used by many people.
Yoga tends to stimulate the meditative state of one’s mind while the person is in a particular yoga posture.
Through yoga/meditation the mind is diverted towards something more productive and calm, allowing the person to escape the negative, distress causing thoughts.
Out of a number of yoga types, one can benefit from any yoga type/pose they like. Hatha yoga is one of the different types of yoga.
The breathing techniques or the imagery one creates while in a yoga posture are the real factors that makes the person feel less anxious and diverts their mind, away from the thoughts about their fear stimuli.
• Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
This is another effective therapy used to treat Dinophobia.
It is more commonly used with people suffering from personality disorders, but is also useful with patients suffering from this type of specific phobia.
Coping skills are taught in the DBT group which lasts for about 6-months and can have a number of people (depending on how many join the group).
i.Half-smiling is the first module of DBT.
It is a technique that is used with patients who are distressed because of their irrational thoughts.
The technique is known as ‘Half-smiling’ because the person is first advised to think about the stimuli that fears or upsets them, and while doing so they are told to lift the corners of their mouths by subtly smiling. Smiling is not that will help one get rid of these unpleasant thoughts, it is the person’s ability to constrain itself from thinking about those thoughts while half smiling.
ii.Mindfulness, the second module, is another technique used in DBT groups which helps the individual in getting rid of those negative thoughts.
Individuals are told to focus on the present and be attentive to what is going on around them at the moment.
This helps in breaking the link between their mind and any negative thought that might come to them then.
For example, a person is told to focus on his breath or on the sound of the wind around them, making use of their auditory sense.
iii.The third technique or module of the DBT is distress tolerance skills. This module teaches people to calm themselves down in healthy ways when they are distressed or emotionally overwhelmed.
Individuals are allowed to make wise, rational decisions and take immediate action, rather than being captured by emotionally destructive thoughts that might make the situation worse.
Reality acceptance skills are also learnt under this model so that people fully accept reality and later make plans on how to address the problem.
• Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
MBSR is a meditation therapy, used to manage stress or anxiety.
It is an 8-week program which includes group sessions. Mindfulness meditation and Hatha yoga are practiced in these sessions.
Lectures and group discussions are also done to talk about mental health and increase interactivity.
In mindfulness meditation the person is told to, for example, focus on the sensations felt while breathing or the rhythm of the chest rising and falling during the process.
This distracts the person’s attention from something stressful to something which is neutral and soothing.
For quick and effective treatment, patients are also given a set of home works, for example 45 minutes of yoga and meditation sessions for 6 days a week and to record their results/feelings in a book or diary for 15 minutes a day.
- Biological Treatment
• Drug Therapy
Drugs are used to reduce the physical symptoms caused by Dinophobia. Drugs are very quick in effectiveness, as they start showing progress in the patients’ health at least 2 weeks after the medicine is taken.
This type of biological treatment is usually more effective if the cause of phobia is only genetic.
However, these drugs/medicines are not to be taken without a doctor’s prescription or consultation.
Two types of drugs are used in the treatment of this phobia:
i. Anti-anxiety Drugs
These include medicines like Klonopin. They are most commonly used with patients who experience panic attacks and also lowers the anxiety by binding to receptor cells of the brain that cause these unpleasant symptoms.
ii. Antidepressant Drugs
These drugs as the name suggests don’t only treat depression but are also very effective in treating phobias.
Medicines like Lexapro reduce the anxious feelings of a person and makes him feel calm.
They need to be taken on a daily basis but not without a doctor’s advice.
Whether the cause of Dinophobia, or any other type of specific phobia is genetics, environmental or both, the best and the most effective way of treating them is by using a combination of both biological treatments (drugs) with cognitive treatment (for example CBT/exposure therapy).
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1) What is Dinophobia?
Dinophobia is an irrational fear of dizziness.
Q2) Is Dinophobia curable?
Yes. Therapies like NLP, CBT are effective in treating all specific phobias including Dinophobia.
Q3) What are the symptoms of Dinophobia?
One will experience extreme anxiety, panic attacks, nausea and or breathlessness including other physiological symptoms.
Q4) How is Dinophobia caused?
A genetic predisposition or environmental factors can be the reason for why one develops Dinophobia.