What is Ideophobia? (An Overview)
In this blog we will jog along, collecting ideas about the causes, symptoms and therapies of Ideophobia.
Ideophobia is an irrational fear of ideas. People who suffer from this tend to get anxious when thinking about ideas. Idea, itself is a thought.
A good idea becomes a great idea when you let it out. They are the roots of creation.
But the person suffering from Ideophobia will experience a full-blown panic attack when he would think of ideas, i.e when he would be exposed to a situation that requires pooling in of ideas or innovative thoughts.
Ideas are important for new things, to move forward. But if these are the very things that instigate anxiety in a person, then his progress will be marred.
If the one who is suffering from Ideophobia is a student then his academics will suffer, because in education ideas are always encouraged.
If the student is unable to contribute due to this fear and anxiety, then he will not be able to excel or even participate.
This is the very same thing that the Ideophobe experiences at their workplace. These days to move forward teams brainstorm for ideas and those who participate are always on the rise and appreciated.
But when the person who suffers from Ideophobia cannot contribute any ideas because he becomes extremely anxious at the very thought of them.
Ideophobia is an intense fear of ideas and thinking about them, being around people who share them all pose a threat for the person who is suffering from this phobia.
Symptoms of Ideophobia
Different people display the symptoms of the same phobia differently; with varying degrees of severity.
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 physically felt by the sufferer. Examples are:-
- rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
- hot flashes or chills
- ringing in ears
- Sweating and trembling
- dry mouth
- raised blood pressure
- feeling faint
The Psychological Symptoms include those that impinge on the mind and are visible through a person’s behavior.
- feelings of dread where ideas are pooled in, at a workplace or an educational institute
- fear of losing control
- fear of harm to self
- fear of illness
- feeling of helplessness
- mood swings
- Feelings of shame
- Lack of concentration
- Feeling a disconnect
Causes of Ideophobia
Ideophobia 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 Ideophobia, 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.
- 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.
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 Ideophobia, this stimulus will be ideas.
- 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 Ideophobia it is often found that if a member of the family or peer group would have an aversion towards the Greek culture or even are not academically sound, they would tend to develop this fear, Ideophobia in their children.
As with most phobias and anxieties, there is no clear consensus about what causes Ideophobia.
The most common explanation is a childhood traumatic episode where a child may have been reprimanded by a teacher or parent, thus giving rise to Ideophobia.
A person who suffers from Dyslexia or has a significant Learning problem may also develop Ideophobia.
Sharing ideas is a problem for these children or people because at times their reasoning is also affected.
Dyslexia is a learning condition in which the part of the brain responsible for language decoding shows a lag.
It can be treated with therapies, but the condition poses immense problems for the person going through this state.
People may also be afraid of losing control because this is something that is not in their hands and not controlled by them, no matter how powerful a person is.
Thus, at the time he is suffering from the symptoms of Ideophobia, he/she feels totally helpless, aggravating their already hiked anxiety.
Treatments of Ideophobia
Ideophobia can be treated through different treatments.
These include Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), Exposure Therapy, Neuro Linguistic Program (NLP), Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction MBSR) and forms of meditation.
- 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 Ideophobia the client is exposed to images 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)
When phobias start to prevent the daily activities of the person, therapy becomes inevitable.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy is one such approach that shows the relation between thoughts, beliefs, feelings and behaviors.
It alters the way of identifying and substituting destructive thoughts and emotions that have a negative impact on behavior.
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.
It helps the person change the way he thinks.
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.
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.
REBT is the dictum that it is our beliefs that makes us experience emotions like anger, depression, anxiety and not the events happening in our lives.
Changing irrational beliefs positively impacts on reducing emotional pain.
REBT’s ABC Theory: The Diagnostic Step
Based on Ellis’ theory, the ABC Model was proposed:
A – Activating Event: an event that takes place in the environment
B – Beliefs: the belief one has about the event that happened
C – Consequence: the emotional response to the belief
Not the event but beliefs cause emotional pain.
c) 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!
For meditation to be effective during treatment, the mind is cleared off all the clutter of random thoughts.
The mind and body are made to be ‘in sync’ with each other, so that the feared stimulus does not invoke a negative thought.
The client will meditate during the thoughts of death and concentrate on his breathing patterns in the presence of the feared stimulus.
e) Group Therapy
Self Help groups are an effective type of therapy, in which the client does not find himself as a lone sufferer.
These groups are individuals who are afflicted with the same types of phobias.
They come together to share their thoughts, experiences and their coping strategies.
This also helps in developing a ‘sense of I am not the only one’ suffering.
f) Changing Lifestyle
Breaking down the dullness of the daily, helps break down anxiety as well.
• Take up jogging or go for daily walks:
Developing a walk routine can damper the way our negative thoughts control our behavior.
• Indulging in an exercise regime:
Vigorous exercise like aerobics has proved to reduce or alleviate the symptoms of stress and anxiety.
Exercise helps the mind to cope with stress and stressful situations better. This is what the American Psychological Association has to say about inducting exercise to eliminate stress or phobias.
• Altering eating and drinking habits:
Cutting down on fatty foods and caffeine can improve self-image, that in turn leads to a raised self-esteem.
This finally diminishes the symptoms of stress to a bare minimum. With high intake of caffeine, the body resembles a ‘fight or flight’ response, thus giving way to anxiety.
When we get proper rest, our concentration improves.
g) Psychiatric Medication
There are a number of medicines that the Psychiatrist can prescribe if the symptoms of Ideophobia are severe.
- 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 Ideophobia 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are ideas?
Ideas are mental representational images of some objects.
How can ideas turn into reality?
Ideas can turn into reality only through direction, hard work, enthusiasm to achieve and motivation.
Can Mindfulness help develop ideas?
Yes. mindfulness is a technique that rebuilds our focus on us and specific things around us.
This focus can help the mind to incubate thoughts that can later generate ideas.
Which is the most common symptom of panic?
The most common symptom of panic is tachycardia or a racing heart, but different people can have a variety of symptoms.
Below is a complete list of all Phobias which we currently cover.
Titles to Read
by Jarnail Singh and Janardhan Singh
by Martin M. Antony, Michelle G. Craske, et al
by Edmund Bourne PhD
by Albert Ellis
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