What is Thaasophobia? (An Overview)
In this blog we will discuss the symptoms, causes and treatment of Thaasophobia.
An intense fear of sitting or idleness is known as Thaasophobia. It is a type of specific phobia which comes under the category of anxiety disorders in the DSM-V.
Someone suffering from it will experience extreme anxiety when they sit or are told to do so.
This anxiety can also be felt when thinking about sitting. In severe cases, one can also undergo panic attacks.
In order to get rid of these unpleasant feelings, one tends to avoid their fear stimuli.
An individual will repeat these acts of avoiding sitting because of the feelings of safety and assurity it produces. This maintains one’s phobia.
Though avoidance is seen as one of the best ways to elude anxiety and fear, in the long run, one can develop other mental disorders such as OCD.
Repeated acts of avoidance can turn into compulsions.
Sitting is an action. One sits when they get tired or want to relax. This action is totally non harmful and unthreatening.
However, in Thaasophobia one sees this as a potential fear stimuli, which will cause harm to them. Though, some sufferers acknowledge that their fear is irrational but are unable to control the anxiety it produces.
As a result, they end up avoiding it (sitting).
According to the DSM-V, avoidance and anxiety produced in Thaasophobia affects one’s social and occupational functioning.
For example, sufferers will spend most of their time doing work which prevents them from staying idle/sitting.
They will try to do every possible work they get in order to stay occupied.
One will prefer doing manual labor instead of an office related job where one has to sit and work.
Sufferers will work and keep themselves busy to such an extent that they’ll get exhausted.
This can lead to them developing health related problems.
Thaasophobia is an irrational fear of sitting/idleness. Also known as Cathisophobia or Kathisophobia, it is a type of specific phobia.
Symptoms of Thaasophobia
Like in the case of all other specific phobias, Thaasophobia too has anxiety as its focal symptom.
Individuals suffering from an irrational fear of sitting/idleness suffer from extreme anxiety which, as mentioned earlier, can result in one having panic attacks.
When one undergoes extreme anxiety, the body experiences other physiological symptoms as well. Such as increased heart rate or palpitations.
When the sufferer thinks about sitting, he goes into flight or fight mode because of an adrenaline rush.
In this state, the body’s physiological responses help one make decisions when in fear causing situations.
They either decide to escape the situation (flight)-faint or suffer from panic attacks or stay and combat their fear (fight)-by taking counterproductive actions.
Sufferers of Thaasophobia experience symptoms in different ways. One might have more severe symptoms than the other, based on their past experiences and intensity of the phobia.
Though, as the DSM-5 suggests, one must experience anxiety lasting for at least 6-months.
Symptoms one experiences in Thaasophobia are:
- Excessive anxiety when exposed to a situation where one has to sit
- Excessive anxiety when thinking about sitting
- Inability to manage anxiety
- Full-blown panic attacks
- Avoiding situations where one might have to sit
- 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
For one to be diagnosed with Thaasophobia, a person should experience at least 3-5 of these symptoms (including anxiety).
Causes of Thaasophobia
Like every other specific phobia, Thaasophobia is a result of either genetics or a past traumatic experience.
Someone who has a family history of anxiety disorders or specific phobias has a higher chance of developing Thaasophobia than someone who doesn’t.
This is because they are genetically predisposed to develop it.
Genes and neurotransmitters also play a significant role in this genetic predisposition.
This genetic tendency to develop a mental disorder/specific phobia can also be referred to as a Diathesis-stress relationship.
According to this, one with a genetic predisposition will not develop symptoms of Thaasophobia until and unless there is some trigger event, instigating anxiety or fear of sitting/idleness.
A triggering event can be for example, a sufferer might have heard of an incident where one developed severe back pain because of prolonged sitting.
Since then, they may have feared sittig because of its association with pain.
Thus, someone who has a fear of pain (Algophobia) can also develop Thaasophobia.
Similarly, people who have a fear of falling (Basophobia) will also fear sitting because either they themselves fell from a chair as a child or saw someone else suffer from injuries because of it.
They can also learn this fear by looking at their parents. Someone whose parents fear sitting because of their medical condition or otherwise can unknowingly transfer this fear into their child.
Therefore, Thaasophobia is developed by both genetics and past traumatic experiences/environmental factors.
Treatment of Thaasophobia
Thaasophobia, like all other specific phobias, has no exclusive type of treatment that is specifically designed to treat it.
Like all the other specific phobias, Thaasophobia is treated by a number of different therapies including, Cognitive-behavioral Therapy (CBT) and or medications that lower downs the anxiety or other physical symptoms.
• Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
It is one of the most frequently used treatments for patients with almost all kinds of mental disorders.
Thaasophobia is defined as the irrational fear of sitting/idleness. 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.
• 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.
• Neuro-Linguistic programming (NLP)
It is a psychological approach that includes ways of trying to reach a personal goal.
It links language, thoughts and patterns of behavior learned through experience.
The key elements of NLP are action, modeling and effective communication. It suggests that everyone has different ways of how they see the world.
By understanding a number of perspectives of others, patients who use NLP see the world through a combination of their personal views and that of others.
NLP therapists treat patients with Thaasophobia by making them understand their thoughts, behaviors and emotional state.
By having an insight of the patient’s own ‘personal’ view of reality, they assist them in forming new, positive thoughts.
NLP helps the patient in improving his state of thoughts about other people by understanding their cognitive-behavioral patterns.
Like CBT, this form of therapy is also very effective.
This another form of treatment used with patients suffering from specific phobia or anxiety disorders. It is used with patients who know the cause of their phobia.
First, the therapist collects the patients’ history of different fears. They then identify the real cause of the particular fear/phobia the patient has.
They then discuss any new/latest event that triggered their anxiety and fear in the past few weeks.
People coming with specific phobias are told to imagine their distress causing stimuli.
The therapist then works with the individual in order for them to overcome their fear. In the case of Thaasophobia, the patient will be advised on how to overcome his fear of sitting.
They do this by creating a positive imagery for the patients’ feared stimuli.
• Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
This is another effective therapy used to treat Thaasophobia.
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.
They are not just one of the many treatment therapies used for Thaasophobia, 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.
• Drug Therapy
Drugs are used to reduce the physical symptoms caused by Thaasophobia.
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 the 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. Antidepressant Drugs
These drugs, as the name suggests don’t only treat depression but are also very effective in treating phobias.
Medicines like Paxil 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.
Medicines like Klonopin are anti-anxiety drugs.
They are most commonly used with patients who experience panic attacks and also lowers their anxiety by binding to receptor cells of the brain that cause these unpleasant symptoms.
Whether the cause of Thaasophobia, 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).
Titles to read
by Barry McDonagh and BMD Publishing
- The American Psychiatric Association Publishing Textbook of Anxiety, Trauma, and Ocd-related Disorders
by Edited by Naomi M. Simon, M.D., et al.
by Aaron Beck, Gary Emery, et al.
by David H. Barlow
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1) What is Thaasophobia?
Thaasophobia is an irrational fear of sitting/idleness.
Q2) How do you overcome Thaasophobia?
Like all other specific phobias, Thaasophobia too is treated by a number of effective psychotherapies and or medicinal drugs.
Q3) What causes Thaasophobia?
Thaasophobia is caused by a genetic predisposition (family history) and or environmental factors (past traumatic experiences).
Q4) How is Thaasophobia diagnosed?
By the help of the criteria mentioned in the DSM-V for specific phobias, one can be diagnosed with Thaasophobia.
The criteria mentions, one should have anxiety lasting for at least 6-months, accompanied by other physiological symptoms.
Examples of other interesting phobias
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