Decoding Atomosophobia: The Fear of Atomic Explosions
Did you ever get nauseous as a child when there was a mention of an explosion on TV? Do you remember the first time you saw a documentary on atomic explosions and how the sight of one made you feel? Does your heart race each time there is news of an explosion somewhere in the world?
If you’re starting to panic as you read this, then you might have a fear of atomic explosions, or atomosophobia.
It may seem like an unusual fear, but atomosophobia is very real. And it’s one of the more irrational fears on the list of phobias, dating back generations to the late 40’s. Atomosophobia is a serious and specific fear under the broad category of fear of explosions, also known as ekrixiphobia.
Where ekrixiphobia is a fear of explosions, atomosophobia is a fear of atomic explosions. This fear of atomic explosions can overlap or broaden to include ekrixiphobia. A person suffering from atomosophobia, if untreated, may start to fear any type of explosion.
Let’s take a closer look at atomosophobia causes, so we can understand this fear more in depth.
Common Atomosophobia Causes
Atomosophobia causes could be broadly classified under two categories: personal and biological.
You or someone you know could have had a traumatic experience with an explosion. This may have created a fear in your mind about the event itself, which later became focused on explosions caused by atomic bombs.
An excess or low level of hormones in the body can throw your response mechanism out of order. This could affect your perception of the atomic explosion as an immediate threat.
If your genetics make you prone to anxiety, then a triggering event could lead to the development of irrational fears. This isn’t so much about the subject of your fear, but rather the fear itself. Whatever triggers your fear response becomes the root cause and subject of your fear. Unfortunately, there is no logical explanation as to what triggers a person or why.
Everything You Need to Know about Atomosophobia
Did you know that the most common trigger for people suffering from atomosophobia was finding out about the 1945 incident of atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
Atomosophobia is a rare type of phobia and difficult to recognize. While many people may fear atomic explosions, the fear is varying in level, and hence could go unnoticed. It’s also possible that two individuals experience two different types of atomosophobia. Types of atomosophobia could be different in terms of the trigger, cause, symptom, or effect.
In extreme cases, the person experiences a heightened sense of fear that leads them to decide to move as far away from civilization as possible. They find a remote location to settle in where atomic explosions are most unlikely to occur or someplace too far for radiation to spread.
Symptoms of Atomosophobia
Atomosophobia symptoms do not just show up when an explosion happens. They may also show up when the person is watching something about an explosion, hears a sound resembling an explosion, or even when the person is thinking about an explosion.
Here are the common symptoms when experiencing triggers:
- Elevated blood pressure
- Hot flashes or chills
- Shortness of breath
- Dizziness, fainting, or losing consciousness
- Trembling, shaking, or tremors
- Heart palpitations
- Upset stomach
- Dry mouth
- Loss of speech (temporary)
- Ringing in the ears
- Fear of losing control
- Fear of radiation
- Fear of death
- Anxious or nervous
- Fear of atomic war
- Obsessive thoughts you can’t shut out
How Do You Deal with Atomosophobia?
Treatment for atomosophobia can be difficult to begin. The fear can be hard to recognize because atomic explosions are rare and any mention or discussion of them can be ignored or avoided.
But in serious conditions, the person is unable to deal with the fear and may want to run far away from crowded cities. If the fear is mild, it’s rather harmless. But for those who suffer the severe extent of it, it could change their lives.
When dealing with atomosophobia, you may feel that you are no longer in control of your life. The fear may cause you to make life-altering decisions. The best solution is to first diagnose and then seek treatment for atomosophobia.
Along with professional help, self-help methods for atomosophobia exist as well.
Self Help: What Can You Do to Help Yourself?
Mindfulness exercises involve you bringing your attention back to the present. This can be practiced regularly or whenever you notice yourself reacting to a trigger. It helps you to reign in your thoughts and look at the situation with a clear mind.
Practicing breathing techniques daily gives you a default technique that can be internalized. The purpose is to prepare you for any unexpected situation that puts stress on your body. Breathing regulates oxygen flow to the body thus telling your brain to relax.
Talking to yourself helps rationalize unhelpful thoughts that may come to mind. If you can explain your behavior, then you should also question whether an action or situation is sensible? Is it necessary? Am I overreacting? Can I do something to get out of this situation that will change what I am feeling? What am I feeling?
You can prepare these questions and answer them regularly. This will help you in two ways: you learn to teach yourself a method to cope with atomosophobia and you shift your attention from the problem to yourself, and then from your fear to your logic.
Your diet could be the biggest culprit behind your anxiety issues. Not just the phobia but anxiety in general. This is why reducing the quantity of alcohol, drugs, coffee and unprocessed food is recommended. This may tell you whether your food could be behind your fear.
Essentially, the fear of an atomic explosion is beyond your control, but the way you respond to it is not. So, let go of the fear by finding something else to focus on.
While these are effective, we don’t suggest you rely only on self-help for treating atomosophobia. Professional help may be necessary to ensure the fear doesn’t return or grow more severe.
Professional Help for Atomosophobia: Options Available
Sometimes atomosophobia calls for professional help. Here are a few options you can explore:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a process of changing your perception of atomic explosions. A licensed therapist will first try to determine the root cause of your fear by asking a series of questions. This helps them form a diagnosis and prepare a treatment plan.
Once diagnosed, your therapist will encourage you open up more about your triggers. These discussions help you move toward a more rationalized mindset where your fear is concerned.
Desensitization helps change your view of the threat and also your fear response. It requires patients to be exposed to their triggers in a safe, controlled environment. Stimuli such as photos or videos may be used.
Medications may be an effective solution if the problem is biological, such as genetic disorders or imbalanced hormones.
Learning to Cope with Atomosophobia
Now that you’ve learned more about atomosophobia, do you think you have the fear of atomic explosions? Or do you know someone who might? Whatever the case, you now know what to do about it.
And if you’re getting nervous thinking that all this reading might cause you to develop a fear, don’t worry. Despite all the scary statistics, an extreme case of atomosophobia which causes you to run to the woods is rare, and yet, easily treatable.