Working Through Mechanophobia – The Fear of Machines
Do you find it difficult to be around or operate machinery? Do you feel terror when you encounter a machine? Do you prefer living a more simplified life without a mobile phone, laptop, microwave, or dishwasher?
Your loved ones don’t understand why you live such a modest life or don’t accompany them on shopping trips or dinners. How do you explain to them you’re afraid you might encounter a computer or a cash register?
If you can relate to these scenarios, you may have mechanophobia, an intense, irrational fear of machines.
However, you can overcome your fear with proper guidance and therapy. You can lead a normal life with a bit of help from your therapist and self-help methods.
Like most phobias, the exact cause of mechanophobia is unknown. However, it may have formed due to an accident with a machine or an industrial accident you learned about that left a lasting impact.
For some, it may be because they cannot understand machines in general. Or maybe they’ve heard of conspiracy theories where machines will take over the world.
You may have inherited the tendency from your parents or grandparents. Or you may have developed the phobia if you grew up around someone who dreaded machinery.
Everything You Need to Know About Mechanophobia
Phobias are fear reactions. They are irrational and excessive. The source of the fear causes a sense of dread for the person with the phobia. The source can be an object, a situation, or even a place.
The term mechanophobia comes from mechano meaning machine and phobia meaning fear. People with a phobia of machines go to great lengths to avoid encountering a machine. They will lead a simple life even if that means hard labor.
The phobia stems from their fear of being overpowered by machines or meeting with a terrible accident when operating one.
All phobias are specific to a particular thing or object. However, most phobias share similar physical and psychological symptoms. Depending on the severity of the phobia, individuals may experience some or many of the symptoms.
- Prickly sensations of needles and pins
- Aches and pains
- Sweating excessively
- Dry and sticky mouth
- Increased heartbeat
- Feeling dizzy
- Fear of impending doom
- Limiting anxiety
- Feeling out of control and helpless
- Withdrawing from others
If you’ve been experiencing these symptoms for a while, it may be time to explore some treatment options.
The treatment for different kinds of phobias is often similar. Like most specific phobias, there is no exclusive treatment for mechanophobia. However, you can overcome it with proper guidance, counseling, and, if the need arises, medication.
With an early diagnosis, you will see quicker progress. Self-help and meditation can help a lot. But if the phobia has advanced to the stage where it interferes with your normal functioning, you’ll need to consult a therapist or doctor.
Most people with mechanophobia realize that their fear is irrational. Self-help methods can help better manage this fear.
To deal with panic and anxiety, you can try relaxation techniques like deep breathing and counting numbers forward and backward.
You can follow a more systematic approach by maintaining a diary. Write down your thoughts, fears, and experiences associated with the fear.
Next, try countering the negative thoughts about machines with positive ones to help overcome your fear.
Yoga and Meditation
Many people use yoga, a popular relaxation method, to deal with the stress of day-to-day life. Yoga is one of the earliest treatment options for people suffering from anxiety and specific phobias.
When practiced regularly, yoga tends to bring about a meditative state of mind. This helps transform a chaotic mind filled with irrational thoughts and anxiety into one that is calm and productive.
Yoga is considered a form of meditation in motion. It involves a range of poses, each aiming at a unique mind-body benefit.
Of the many types of yoga, hot yoga or hatha yoga is most beneficial for a person with mechanophobia. If you have never practiced yoga before, you can view YouTube videos to get started on some basic poses. Eventually, graduate to more challenging poses for better results.
The more frequently you practice yoga, the greater the advantages, so stay consistent. Also, besides easing your mechanophobia symptoms, yoga will help increase flexibility and strength.
Hypnosis helps treat many specific phobias. The therapist induces a hypnotic state of mind that allows the patient to achieve a high level of focus and attention.
Individuals tend to accept and respond to suggestions in this trance-like state readily. The therapist offers guidance to help them modify irrational thoughts and address unhealthy behavior.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is one of the most widely used treatment options for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and anxiety disorders. It operates on the premise that our thoughts and emotions influence our behavior. It replaces the irrational thoughts with more adaptive ones to alleviate the distress caused by the phobia.
In the case of a patient with mechanophobia, the therapist will tackle illogical fears like machines overpowering humans. They will attempt to replace them with rational thoughts like how useful they are and how far humans have come with the help of machines.
They also help patients analyze their reactions to the machines and train them to have a more calm and positive response.
Exposure therapy is another widely used method. In this therapy, the therapist gradually exposes the person to the object of their fear. They do this in a safe and controlled environment.
Being exposed to the fear repeatedly over time helps the patients gain control over their reactions. In this case, they are desensitized to machines and realize they do not pose a real threat.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
Mindfulness-based stress reduction is a program that involves mindfulness training. It is often an eight-week program during which the therapist guides the patient in personal or group sessions.
The patient learns many skills that can help relieve the anxiety they feel because of mechanophobia. They encourage the individual to focus on the present instead of dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.
MBSR techniques reduce stress by shifting the patient’s attention away from the fear toward something soothing or neutral.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy. DBT helps patients live in the moment, modify their thought patterns, develop healthy coping methods, regulate their emotions, and reduce destructive behavior.
The program may last six months and involve private and group sessions. Therapists teach patients CBT techniques like half-smiling, mindfulness, and distress tolerance skills.
Psychiatric Medications for Mechanophobia
The doctor may prescribe medication in severe cases to help deal with the symptoms like depression and anxiety. They may use them in conjunction with other treatment options.
Learning to Cope With Mechanophobia
Machines today are more of a necessity than a luxury. For a person who has mechanophobia, going about their day-to-day life can be quite difficult. The person may even try to isolate oneself to avoid encountering machines.
If you face this fear, try the self-help techniques and therapies available to help you cope with your phobia. Although they may not eliminate the fear entirely, they will enable you to lead a more normal life.
If you have a phobia, everyday activities that most people take for granted may be challenging. However, with the right support system, self-help, and professional care, it is possible to lead a fulfilling life.