In this blog we will discuss the causes, symptoms and treatments of Tyrannophobia.
Tyrannophobia is an irrational and intense fear of authority or tyrants. Tyranny means cruel, unreasonable, or arbitrary use of power or control.
This fear can be very valid if the person lives under the rule of a tyrant or a cruel head of state.
But if a person who is living in a democratic peaceful society and still suffers from a fear of an oppressor, then that is totally irrational.
Dictators like Stalin have created a history of tyranny, creating a sketch of the hardships and troubles that are caused by such a strict and oppressive rule.
Tyrannophobia is an intense aversion to the strict rule of law. It restricts the person’s thinking to his own irrational thoughts about rules, although in reality that may not be the case.
People suffering from Tyrannophobia are mostly influenced by propaganda and hype created by the media. They keep fearing that someday they might be the victims of an oppressive society.
Symptoms of Tyrannophobia
To avoid the experience of anxiety itself the individual may develop Tyrannophobia, so as to avoid the very cause of the uncomfortable condition.
These are intense and can begin without any prior warning.
The person suffering from Tyrannophobia experiences the full physical intensity of either all of these or some of these in combination with others.
- hot flashes or chills
- shortness of breath a choking sensation
- rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
- feeling faint
- dry mouth
- ringing in ears
- raised blood pressure
- Bizarre behavior
The Psychological Symptoms
During panic attack the person suffering from Tyrannophobia may experience the following
- fear of being in an oppressive state
- feelings of dread
- fear of being ridiculed
- Socially withdrawn
- fear of losing control
- fear of self harm
- feeling of hopelessness
- feeling of disconnect
- lack of concentration
- mood swings
Causes of Tyrannophobia
As is common in specific phobias, the cause Tyrannophobia may lie deep in the person’s childhood or its onset may be due to an environmental factor.
Genetics also plays a pivotal role in the cause of developing Tyrannophobia.
Being the head of state is a significant responsibility. People who are ruling the country or a state are answerable to their people.
If someone has been living in a country that was under the rule of dictatorship, then chances are that he will suffer from Tyrannophobia even if he is anywhere in the world, or under any sort of leadership as well.
Rulers being the supreme power have always held an authoritative position, therefore, people who are afraid of authority figures may develop Tyrannophobia.
Either as a child they were overpowered by authoritative fathers and were not allowed to speak their mind or do as they wished in their lives.
This fear that was developed could have been conditioning by association, where fear of one’s dominating father led onto fear of the leader of their country or state.
The most common explanation is a childhood traumatic episode where a child may have experienced a parent or a loved one suffering at the hands of a tyrant, thus giving way to the onset of Tyrannophobia.
Person suffering from Tyrannophobia may suffer from low self-esteem and thus, at the time he is suffering from the symptoms of Tyrannophobia, he/she feels totally helpless, aggravating their already hiked anxiety. Scientists believe that a combination of genetic tendencies, brain chemistry, and other biological and environmental factors could cause such fears to develop.
Other causes can be as follow:
• Learned behavior
• Traumatic experiences
Etiological Models of Tyrannophobia
1. Biological (Genetic) Model
Genetics also determines how a person reacts and feels. Therefore, people inherit fears and phobias as well from their families.
The brain cells (neurons) release certain chemicals called neurotransmitters.
Serotonin and Dopamine are two neurotransmitters that in depleted states can cause anxiety like symptoms.
2. Psychodiagnostics Model
If a person has suffered from a traumatic experience in early childhood it can have a severe dire impact on his later life.
A childhood traumatic experience could be where children experienced a negative impact of events due to a change in their life.
This may leave a long lasting impression.
Reading books that have detailed accounts on the misuse of power, also anecdotes of unwarranted changes that altered the lives of these people due to such tyranny, can add to the fears.
3. Behavioral Model
According to this model, irrational fears may be caused through behaviors that are learned by replication.
Children often replicate unique behaviors of their adults, parents or a favorite aunt or uncle.
If a family member is already suffering from anxiety or is scared of one or another thing, then chances are higher that only by observing this, the child may develop fears.
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Treatments of Tyrannophobia
Papaphobia 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.
- 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 therapist helps the client to discover the reason for this thought, his behavior in regards to changes in life.
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.
For the treatment of Tyrannophobia, the therapist separates the problem into parts. These may include: thoughts, feelings and actions.
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.
- Exposure Therapy
It is one of the most frequently used ways of treating patients with Tyrannophobia.
In this therapy, the patient is exposed to the source of his fear over a certain span of time.
To begin with the therapy, the therapist exposes the patient to the least triggering stimuli.
As the therapy progresses and the patient is able to control his anxious feelings, imagery can be used to take the treatment a step further.
In this part of the treatment the patient is asked to visualize/imagine a situation that makes him anxious.
During this process of imagery, one actually feels being in that particular situation or place, experiencing various senses.
Once the person successfully, without feeling anxious clears this step of the therapy, he is then exposed to real life situations.
While the patient is being exposed to different intensities of stimuli during the various stages of therapy, the therapist simultaneously teaches them coping exercises.
These include, breathing techniques or muscle relaxation methods to lower their anxiety, when in an actual fear/anxiety causing situation.
This teaches them how to remain calm when exposed to the fear stimuli.
Before actually starting the exposure therapy, the therapist needs to figure out the intensity of the patient’s fear, as to deduce whether they will be able to undergo this treatment, without any physical or psychological harm caused to them during the exposure processes.
- 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.
4) 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!
In Tyrannophobia treatment, the client is made conscious to pay attention to his thoughts when he is thinking of what he is afraid of.
Awareness helps to alleviate the stress symptoms.
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.
6) Self-Help Groups
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.
7) 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.
• Improving the sleep cycle:
When we get proper rest, our concentration improves.
8) Psychiatric Medication
There are a number of medicines that the Psychiatrist can prescribe if the symptoms of Tyrannophobia 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 Tyrannophobia 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.
9) Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
This kind of therapy is used to regulate the emotions. A technique called “half-smiling” is used where the client is asked to lift the corners of his mouth when the feared thought comes to his mind.
Apart from this the mind is to be trained to refrain from thinking about the painful stimulus.
Coping Ahead is another technique in DBT that requires the client to sit quietly and think of the feared situation and strategize what he will do.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What does Tyrannophobia mean?
Tyrannophobia is the irrational fear of tyrants.
The origin of the word Tyrannophobia comes from the Greek word ‘tyrann’ and phobos is fear in Greek.
Who is a tyrant?
Tyrant is a cruel and oppressive ruler
Any 3 tyrants in history?
Putin, Stalin and Genghis Khan were 3 famous tyrants in history who ruled with cruelty.
What is fear of Tyranny called ?
Fear of tyranny is called Tyrannophobia. It is a specific phobia.
Examples of other interesting phobias
Titles to Read
- The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edmund J. Bourne PhD | May 1, 2020
- Anxiety, Phobias, and Panic by Reneau Peurifoy | Feb 1, 2005
- Dying of Embarrassment: Help for Social Anxiety and Phobia by Barbara G. Markway, C. Alec Pollard, et al. | Oct 1, 1992
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Made Simple: 10 Strategies for Managing Anxiety, Depression, Anger, Panic, and Worry by Seth J. Gillihan Ph.D | May 22, 2018
- The CBT Deck: 101 Practices to Improve Thoughts, Be in the Moment & Take Action in Your Life by Seth Gillihan | Jun 11, 2019