In this blog we will confer about the causes, symptoms and treatment of Zeusophobia.
Zeusophobia is an intense fear of god.
The person suffering from Zeusophobia is extremely fearful of the wrath of god or gods and is afraid of punishments and going to hell as well upon dying.
Zeus is the god of the sky, lightning and thunder in Ancient Greek religion and legends, and the ruler of all the gods on Mount Olympus.
Zeusophobia is emanated from the fear of sinning and from the moral values that are inculcated in him.
Fearing god in many religions around the world is thought to propel the people to refrain from sinning.
Zeusophobia is an irrational fear of the god.
It is interrelated to the fear of the Pope (papaphobia) and the fear of the church (Ecclesiophobia).
People suffering from Papaphobia will be afraid of even entering the Church or attending religious ceremonies.
Church itself being under the command of the god becomes a place that brings the onset of a full-blown panic attack in the person.
Zeusophobia is derived from the Greek word ‘Zeus’ meaning god and ‘phobos’ meaning ‘fear.’ It hinders the person from engaging in the very essential religious acts and also makes him the reason for much debate amongst his family and friends. He is oftentimes considered to be possessed by demons .
Symptoms of Zeusophobia
To avoid the experience of anxiety itself the individual may develop Zeusophobia, 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 Zeusophobia 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 Zeusophobia may experience the following
- fear of being in a Church
- feelings of dread
- fear of being ridiculed
- Socially withdrawn
- fear of losing control
- fear of self harm
- fear of being possessed
- feeling of hopelessness
- feeling of disconnect
- lack of concentration
- mood swings
- afraid of rejection
- incapacitated to enjoy religious ceremonies
- Anxiety on attending sermons
- Anxiety on attending funerals and weddings
Causes of Zeusophobia
As is common in specific phobias, the cause of Zeusophobia 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 Zeusophobia.
Fearing god after committing sin or crimes is valid and asking for forgiveness is something that alleviates the anxiety that comes from sinning as well.
In different religions of the world god is depicted as an unforgiving god who will punish all sinners, no matter what crime they have committed.
God cannot be seen but his presence is to be felt everywhere, therefore, the source of anxiety cannot be avoided and the ever present god poses a continuous anxious state of mind.
There are immense powers vested in god pose a threat that nothing is in the hands of the person and all is controlled by only one entity.
Either as a child they were made to fear the unseen god and this fear is then felt everywhere and thus causes Zeusophobia to develop.
The most common explanation is a childhood traumatic episode where a child may have experienced the loss of a parent or a loved one and was told that god has taken them away, thus contributing to the onset of Zeusophobia.
It could also be that if a person had committed a crime or a sin, the guilt that eats him away may give rise to Zeusophobia, for he fears punishment from the highest authority.
Person suffering from Zeusophobia may suffer from low self-esteem and thus, at the time he is suffering from the symptoms of Zeusophobia, 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 Zeusophobia
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.
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.
Treatments of Zeusophobia
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.
1) 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.
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.
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.
3) 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!
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.
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 Papaphobia 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 Papaphobia 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.
We are always here to answer if you have any queries.
Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.
What we recommend for Phobias
- If you are suffering from Phobias then ongoing professional counselling could be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioural therapy which will help you address the fears you are facing.
Weighted Blankets may help you sleep better if your phobias are affecting your quality of sleep. Weighted blankets apply enough weight on you that they make you feel much more relaxed and calm at night.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Zeusophobia?
Zeusophobia is a fear of god or gods.
Who was Zeus?
Zeus is the god of thunder and lightning and the supreme power over all other gods iinGreek mythology.
Should we be afraid of god?
God is an omnipotent being who loves his creations.
We should follow what he taught us and then there is nothing to fear him for.
What powers does god have?
God has all powers there are in the Universe.
Below is a complete list of all Phobias which we currently cover.
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