The Sound of Silence. Does It Scare You?
“Silence speaks louder than words.” – J.R. Rain
Silence can be both appreciated and feared. Most would enjoy a moment of silence without the noise of crying babies, loud televisions, blaring music, or horns blowing. This stillness provides the time we need to think and come to terms with reality. But not all of us appreciate these moments of silence.
What is the phobia of silence called? Sedatephobia.
In some, silence triggers fear. It may give rise to negative thoughts about death, traumatic experiences, a disturbing childhood, or any life-changing episode that causes anxiety and dread.
Those who have an unexplainable fear of silence often have difficulty understanding why that is so. People around them may also struggle to understand why their friend or loved one fears silence.
It’s difficult to explain why the silence of libraries is deafening and why walking home in the stillness of the night can cause you terror.
Though these feelings are valid, it’s not too late to let go of that fear. The good news is there are proven treatments you can consider to gradually overcome your phobia of silence.
Acknowledging and learning about your fear is one of the most challenging but liberating steps to take control of your situation. One day you may no longer have to tell people, “Silence causes me anxiety.”
Defining the Phobia of Silence
Silence is the absence of sound—specifically, intentional sounds like your television, radio, the noise of work tools, or conversations.
People who find silence unsettling may have a condition called sedatephobia or the fear of silence. Silence may cause anxiety attacks in the affected individual. When you have sedatephobia, you have an irrational fear of silence. During periods of silence, your mind goes into overdrive. It creates illogical conclusions and promotes unfounded anxieties.
It doesn’t matter where you are or what time of the day it is. When your fear of silence kicks in, you are consumed with the fear of the unknown. You assume you may die, get hurt, or any other number of imaginable crises may happen causing you to act rashly.
Today’s generation is born with and lives with noise every single day. It’s hard to escape even if you wanted to. But those struggling with sedatephobia crave the noise—the absence of it can lead to feelings of panic. And the number of people who are likely to develop this in the future is on an upward trend.
Most, if not all, phobias stem from a traumatic experience in a particular phase of life. In the case of sedatephobia, the sound of silence may be associated with the specific trauma.
Some who suffer from the fear of silence may have been locked up inside closets or basements where no sound could reach them. Others might have been abused at some point in their past, then forced into silence.
Experiences like these, especially if they occured in childhood, can cause psychological harm.
Another example would be receiving tragic news followed by a period of silence, such as with the death of a loved one.
It is thought that today’s generation is not familiar with the idea of silence. Meditations are now often done with music in the background, and even while sitting in a quiet room, phones, TV, or sounds from outside are heard.
From another perspective, fear of silence can also be rooted in other phobias. Sedatephobia can directly affect other anxieties such as monophobia (the fear of being alone) or even the fear of ghosts, since silence is often associated with ghosts and supernatural creatures.
Other factors that can cause fear of silence are hormonal imbalances, depression, adrenal insufficiencies, and delusional paranoia.
Too much noise is debilitating and can lead to headaches, but what symptoms might silence cause? For those suffering from sedatephobia, silence causes more than the temporary headache.
The symptoms can be both physical and psychological, with the individual often experiencing one or more symptoms at a time.
Here are some common symptoms of sedatephobia:
- Difficulty in breathing
- Gastrointestinal distress
- Dry mouth and/or sweaty palms
- Increased blood pressure
- Rapid heartbeat
- Feeling detached from reality
- Wanting to flee or cry
- Inability to speak or think rationally
- Varying levels of panic
- Paranoia that something bad will happen
How to Overcome Fear of Silence
If your silence anxiety is already negatively impacting your life as well as your mental health, then it’s time for you to overcome the fear.
Being irrationally scared can lead to unhappiness, and that constant worry over nothing can be tiring and frustrating.
Why not start now learning methods to cope with your fear of silence? There are several treatments options available including self-help remedies as well as professional therapy. Either way, isn’t it better to seek treatment now rather than remain locked up in silence?
Sedatephobia Self Treatment
A strong support system makes a significant difference in acknowledging what you are going through. Try to find the courage to talk about your fear of silence, not necessarily to the entire family but trusted people you can rely on.
This not only provides you with a level of relief, but it can also make you feel less alone when the silence anxiety strikes. As you go through learning more about sedatephobia, you can also slowly expose yourself to silence.
Being alone in complete silence, first for a few seconds, then gradually prolonging it to minutes, is a way for you to start facing your fear. You can ask a family member or a friend to stay around to provide immediate support.
And while you’re at it, remind yourself that there’s nothing to fear and that you are okay despite the irrational fear beginning to creep in. Slowly build your confidence until you believe that silence is nothing to fear.
Sedatephobia Professional Treatment
Psychiatrists and hypnotherapists can also become your ally to help you slowly overcome your fear of silence.
Modern therapies like neurolinguistics programming, cognitive behavioral therapy, and systematic desensitization therapies are some treatments that your doctor might recommend.
Your doctor may even prescribe medications if deemed necessary. This is not to treat your phobia but more to control your anxiety.
Knowing your options and being open to the possibilities is key to overcoming your fear.
Coping with Sedatephobia
As much as you want to be surrounded by noise, silence is a liberating opportunity. Of course, for someone with a fear of silence, you won’t be able to see and understand the concept of silence is good—at least not for now.
So as you wait for the self-help and professional treatments to make a difference, you have to empower yourself and create avenues to lessen your anxiety and curb your reaction to silence.
It’s a long journey, and there will be challenges, but knowing your goal and being stronger than your fear can help you keep going and stay motivated.
Listen to the silence. It has so much to say. – Rumi
Silence doesn’t have to mean fear, negativity, and anxiety. In silence, you can feel love, peace, and acceptance, too. Do not fear it, but instead, embrace the stillness.