Excessive Fear of Cold
We all want to cuddle up in the cold winter. Nothing feels better than to sit by the fire when the cold creeps in. It’s normal for us to long for warmth when the weather turns cold. What’s not normal is to clench our teeth and feel terrified when the weather report calls for snow.
If you feel intense fear when the weather forecast says it’s going to be a cold day, you may have cheimaphobia. This phobia might be unheard of to some, but it’s very real. People do suffer from cheimaphobia. Like all other phobias, it’s based in irrational fear.
You may avoid cold cities and retreat to warmer places because of this fear. You adjust your dreams and social life to what your phobia dictates. It is a phobia that can alter dreams, aspirations, and put a dent in your social life.
Cheimaphobia can also spring up from seeing images of cold. Watching Game of Thrones can be very frightening for people suffering from cheimaphobia. You’ll be gripped by fear seeing not only the white walkers, but also the bulk of snow at the wall. Becoming a member of the Night’s Watch is completely out of the question.
Indeed, cold weather can be dangerous and can cause severe health issues. Extended exposure to cold weather carries many risks. But simple, protective measures can be added to reduce these risks. Still, people suffering from cheimaphobia may feel distraught and overestimate that risk.
What Is Cheimaphobia?
Cheimaphobia is the abnormal and persistent fear of the cold. The fear includes cold objects and temperatures. When you suffer from this kind of fear, you feel excess anxiety. As a sufferer, you’re well aware that the fear is irrational. Still, extreme fear traps you in whenever you sense cold or see cold things. So, you prefer warm locations and dress in a way that protects you from the cold.
The phobia can have a major impact on one’s daily life. For instance, as you restrict yourself to warmer places, you may miss out on experiences that might occur in a cooler climate.
Causes of Cheimaphobia
Genetics could be potential cheimaphobia causes. You have increased risk of developing this phobia if you have a parent, family member, or close relative suffering from this same phobia. Research has established genetic factors to contribute to this phobia’s development.
Past experiences can also lead to the development of cheimaphobia. Traumatic events in particular contribute to triggering the phobia. Merely remembering such events can overwhelm a phobia sufferer with fear and helplessness. Several unique experiences involving a cold object or environment can develop into a phobia. For example, a person who has been in a snowboarding accident could develop a fear of cold things. Another scenario could be an avalanche that left someone trapped under a pile of snow. These experiences are indeed scary and emotionally scarring.
Many develop phobias after a traumatic experience, but witnessing another person experience the dangers of cold could also cause cheimaphobia. Particularly if that person is someone close. Seeing the experience firsthand may have instilled fear and anxiety in the individual with phobia. The fear that you almost lost someone dear to you because of the cold could have caused you to be afraid.
Symptoms of cheimaphobia are similar to that of most phobias and those exhibited by people with anxiety disorders. The symptoms become active when there’s a feeling of cold, information about imminent cold, or an outlook of cold. The mere idea of cold things could also cause fear.
Physical Symptoms of Cheimaphobia
Some of the symptoms experienced include:
● Stomach Ache
Stomach upsets are common when you’re afraid. If you’re a phobia sufferer and are exposed to cold, you might develop an ache in your stomach.
● Tense Muscles
Tension in the muscles is a common symptom when it comes to anxieties. This is a common reaction when in fear. The muscles become tense when people are anxious and fearful about something. In people with cheimaphobia, the muscles become stiff and they are not completely in your control anymore when the condition is triggered.
When it comes to phobia sufferers, increased perspiration is not uncommon. Sweating is something most people do when they’re panicking. Sweating during a cold is uncommon, but in people with this phobia, breaking into a sweat is possible when the condition is triggered.
● Shortness of Breath
Some people find it hard to breathe when they are feeling extreme fear.
It is possible to develop a headache when there is intense fear. Phobia sufferers, even if they were completely well before, could suddenly develop a massive headache on top of feeling severe anxiety after getting exposed to a cold environment.
Psychological Symptoms of Cheimaphobia
Concentration is impossible when the phobia sets in. The sufferer would find it hard to concentrate on a particular thing. The emotion takes over, and the thoughts revolve around the dangers of being in a cold environment. Nothing else can occupy the mind at that point.
The mind is the center of phobia, including cheimaphobia. One approach for treating this condition is to find a way for the mind to understand how the phobia works.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavioral therapy can help you manage your cheimaphobia. This approach teaches you that fear is a result of environmental influences. There are no facts that make fear rational. You’ll begin to understand that you’re not in any physical danger. The therapist will strive to help address your thoughts toward cold objects and environments. Using a structured approach, you’ll share your thoughts about the object of your fear, and learn ways to deal with the condition productively. Cognitive behavioral therapy is usually combined with exposure therapy for the best results.
Exposure therapy is another method of treatment. This method involves gradually exposing you to cold environments. The aim is to help you get used to them until you can manage your reaction. The therapist may start by having you visualize a cold place or coldness in general. Then later on, expose you to cold things.
Fear can be conquered. With determination and appropriate support, the time will come when you won’t have to retreat at the slightest feeling of cold. You’ll come to realize that cold can be fun too.