Unravelling Atephobia – Fear of Ruins
Do you feel the walls closing in on you every time you see an old, abandoned building, even on a television screen?
Do you find yourself terrified at the sight of a demolished, destructed building or slums? Is there an urgent need to drive away from these areas as fat as possible? If your answer to these questions is yes, you may have Atephobia or the excessive fear of ruins.
It may be very difficult to explain the terror you feel when you see ruins. And also, you would not expect anybody to understand the intensity of your fear. Living with this fear can be difficult and highly taxing. Some may think simple avoid these areas or images, which is true. But in some situations you cannot or may not be able to avoid the site of ruins. However, you do not need to lose hope. Though there isn’t any particular treatment for phobias, there are various treatment methods you can try.
The first step towards handling this fear is to understand why you have it in the first place.
Causes of Atephobia
A key factor in the development of Atephobia is the environment. People who have a traumatic event or experience in the past which are related to ruins can be the cause for Atephobia. However, there are times when genetics also play a role in the development of fear.
Atephobia is the fear of ruins or physical destruction of buildings or places. Atephobia may not necessarily refer to only old buildings. It can also refer to the new ones that have faced destruction. The term ‘Atephobia’ comes from ate- meaning destroyed or ruins, and phobia- meaning fear. Sometimes it is called an exaggerated or irrational fear. People having Atephobia often know about it but have trouble accepting it. Disliking something is very different from having a phobia of it. If just the thought or sight of ruins somehow manages to evoke a feeling of dread which you can’t seem to shake, then it is termed as a phobia.
As the intensity of the fear increases, you may start getting scared of the sight of ruins in movies or series on television as well. It makes it difficult for you to enjoy any film having a scene that has ruins in it.
Symptoms of Atephobia
The symptoms include behavioral changes and fear of panic attacks. If a person having Atephobia happens to see any ruins, they can have a panic attack.
Apart from that, they may also start distancing themselves from anything that even remotely resembles or reminds them of ruins. For example, a movie that has one scene shot in some ruins.
After seeing a place that is in ruins, someone having Atephobia might trigger a past traumatic experience that they had to go through concerning ruins. Triggering a traumatic event such as that may result in your heart rate rising rapidly.
Among other symptoms of Atephobia, you may also suffer from shortness of breath or breathlessness when the phobia is triggered. You may find it hard to breathe when you are greeted with the sight or even the thought of ruins.
Like all other phobias, the fear of ruins is also irrational. However, if the fear is affecting you to a level where it prohibits you from leading a normal life, maybe it is time to consider seeking out professional help. While there isn’t anyone treatment for Atephobia, there are many different treatment methods you can try.
Self Help – What Can You Do to Help Yourself?
Try writing down your thoughts and understand the patterns in which your fears are triggered and when. Replace negative thoughts with positive statements and reinforcement consciously.
Deep breathing, controlled breathing, meditation, or even counting numbers in your head when faced with that which you fear can go a long way in relaxing and overcoming it.
Alternatively, what you can do is expose yourself to the thing you fear. Start small by watching movies that have scenes with ruins in them and keep reassuring yourself that it is okay. Eventually, your fears will start diminishing and you will be able to drive past any abandoned ruins without having to take a longer detour to avoid them.
Professional Help for The Fear of Ruins
For the treatment of any Phobia, you should first be aware of your condition. There are chances that people with Atephobia don’t recognize it as an illness, or they know it’s there but have trouble accepting it. Consider reaching out to a therapist to help with your phobia. For something like Atephobia, long-term treatment is needed. In such cases, psychotherapy is perfect.
Relaxation exercises like the Jacobson Progressive Muscle relaxation technique can go a long way. It can make the symptoms of fear, uneasiness, hyperventilation, and fatigue vanish in a matter of seconds.
Another technique of treatment you can use is mindfulness. Mindfulness is a technique via which you can have absolute control over the present, which will make it easier to let go of the past. It makes you realize a sense of reality, and feelings of gratitude start to emerge.
Although medication can work for the short term and completely vanish your phobia, you should consult a practitioner. It may seem like only short-term relief, but remember therapy will also work better if the symptoms are in check. You should never self-medicate yourself, no matter how much you feel like you should. It can be very harmful to you.
Learning to Cope with Atephobia
All of the treatment methods mentioned above cannot in any way whatsoever guarantee that your phobia will disappear completely. It will help you work on your anxiety, and you will have better control over managing your fears.
You can find ways to lessen your anxiety and in turn your fears by dealing with it, either by yourself or with the help of a professional. You can also focus on positive thoughts to help you cope with the fear of ruins whenever it is triggered.
Reducing a fear from something that overpowers your life to something that is barely a minor discomfort is already half the battle won.
Learning how to cope with Atephobia can go a long way in leading a relatively normal life. You can now watch any movies you want without having to be afraid and drive past any ruins without having to take a much longer detour and making you late to arrive at your destination. You can apply the above-mentioned relaxation techniques, take a deep breath and just drive by the ruins like they aren’t even there.
All of this is so much easier said than done. Conquering fears is not easy, but if you can just muster up the courage to take the first step, you can change your entire life for the better!