Petraphobia Is Hard to Deal With
Does the sight of rocks cause you to feel faint or frightened? Do you get queasy just thinking about rock climbing?
Do you get chills and break into a sweat when you pass by construction sites or mountains? Are you scared stiff that a rock might fall on you?
While those big rocks are scary, some people fear rocks even if they are not likely to harm them. They may go all out to avoid places with rocks, houses with rocks, and events where they may see rocks. They may even avoid going to work if they need to drive through a rocky path.
If you can relate to these situations, you may have petraphobia, a fear of rocks.
The good news is that there are ways to deal with your fear of rocks. Self-help and professional therapy can get you back on track. Read on to learn what petraphobia is, the causes, symptoms, and treatments.
Some Petraphobia Causes
Most phobias usually develop in early childhood. Direct experience, observing someone else with the fear, or genetics may cause a phobia.
You may develop petraphobia following a traumatic experience. If a rock hit you during your childhood and caused you to sustain severe injuries, it may have deeply impacted you. The incident could have caused you to develop a phobia.
If you grew up with a family member or someone with this phobia, observing them may have caused the phobia over time. For example, if your father had petraphobia and you watched him struggle, you may develop the phobia too.
Sometimes, informational learning may cause a phobia. For example, you may fear flying in an airplane after learning about a recent crash.
Genetic factors may also cause phobias. Parents and grandparents with psychological issues may pass on the phobia.
Some Things You Need to Know about Petraphobia
Petraphobia is a combination of the Greek words petros, meaning “stone” or “rock,” and phobia, meaning “fear.” Even though it is not on the list of most common phobias, it still affects people worldwide.
People often confuse disliking something with having a phobia. If you cringe at the sight of something, like a rock, it may just be disgust and not a phobia. However, if the mere thought of rocks or seeing them on television gives you anxiety and chills, it may be a case of petraphobia.
An individual with a phobia may experience severe physical and psychological symptoms. The very thought or sight of the dreaded object may disturb their daily lives.
Petraphobia is a strong, irrational fear. Your fear of rocks may be more intense than the actual danger the rocks pose. This irrational fear can affect your day-to-day life.
When your brain overestimates the threat of rocks, it triggers extreme anxiety. If you have petraphobia, you may go to great lengths to avoid situations that involve rocks and stones.
The symptoms of each type of phobia are unique and depend on the object or situation the person is afraid of. However, a person with petraphobia may show the following signs:
- Dry mouth
- Tightness in chest
- Excessive sweating
- Difficulty breathing
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Panic attacks
- Uncontrollable thoughts
- Feeling out of control
- Constant worry
Symptoms can vary depending on how severe the phobia is and your proximity to the rocks.
Diagnosis of Petraphobia
Phobias are generally diagnosed based on criteria outlined in The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). A clinician examines you to see if you meet specific DSM-defined criteria.
Talk to your doctor or a psychologist if you suspect you have a phobia. The doctor will ask about your symptoms and review your history to offer suitable treatment.
Fear of rocks may not affect your day-to-day activities if you live in a city where there aren’t many rocks.
If your rock phobia doesn’t impact your life much, it’s probably nothing to be concerned about.
However, if you can’t do things you would typically enjoy because you want to avoid the object, activity, or situation that triggers the phobia, you might want to seek help.
Meditation is a practice that trains our minds so we can stay calmer and feel more at ease. So, in essence, we’re removing ourselves from the everyday routine for just a few minutes.
Meditation helps reduce anxiety, stress, blood pressure, and other phobia-related symptoms.
You could also try joining a support group. Support groups allow people with similar problems, such as a rocks fear, to come together.
The members regularly discuss their issues, share ideas, and find ways to cope with their fear. Such groups offer you a safe space to talk without being judged.
Many support groups have a moderator who oversees the talks, which usually focus on a particular subject.
Share Your Thoughts with Family and Friends – Discussion
A friend or family member can be a great support system for anyone with a phobia.
If you’re at ease doing it, tell your close family and friends about your fear so they can help. They may be able to join hands with you and help you overcome your fear.
A support circle comes in handy, especially when trying self-help techniques.
During counseling, a therapist listens to your worries and helps you overcome them with talk therapy and guidance.
Talk therapy often involves describing the impact phobias have on life.
During psychotherapy, a therapist helps identify the root cause of the fear and helps you to overcome it. People with phobias often talk negatively about themselves, making them more afraid.
A therapist can help you cope with your fears, resolve the core issue, and change your negative outlook.
Desensitization or Exposure Therapy
Therapists often incorporate this form of behavioral therapy in the treatment of many specific phobias. It is also known as exposure therapy.
The therapy involves gradual exposure to the object or situation you fear. Gradually exposing yourself to your fear tends to reduce anxiety.
Virtual Reality (VR)
Virtual reality lets those with a phobia live out their fears in a safe environment where they can leave anytime. It allows the therapist to simulate experiences that aren’t always common or easy to encounter in everyday life.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavioral therapy examines patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that may be related to the phobia. It then suggests strategies to modify them.
The therapy helps people understand how their irrational thoughts worsen their symptoms.
You can also use computerized cognitive behavioral therapy to deal with anxiety, phobias, and depression.
Hypnotherapy might help you manage and overcome your phobias.
A hypnotherapist employs guided visualization so that you can imagine yourself facing the object of your dread in a safe setting.
During hypnotherapy, you are in a relaxed state. The therapist will help you face your fears through gentle guidance, affirmations, and suggestions.
Learning to Cope with Petraphobia
You may feel tempted to avoid places with rocks and stones that trigger petraphobia, but doing so will only worsen your condition.
So rather than avoiding your fears, gradually expose yourself to them until you stop feeling so anxious.
You can also make lifestyle changes to manage your anxiety. Try these:
- Eat a balanced diet
- Exercise every day
- Practice stress-reduction methods like yoga
Petraphobia is not as common as other phobias, but it is real and often crippling since rocks are everywhere. You may feel ill at ease seeking help, but early diagnosis and treatment can help you better cope with the fear. If you think you may have this phobia, get early treatment so your fears don’t dictate your life.