Siderodromophobia: The Fear of Trains
What is the longest passenger train in the world? This honor falls to the Gahn, an Australian tourist train with an astonishing length of more than 2,500 feet. That’s equivalent to 12 football fields. For people with Siderodromophobia, this bit of trivia can be disturbing.
Are you also deathly afraid of this popular mode of transportation?
Perhaps you have nightmares of being in a train crash. If given a choice, you’d rather walk for miles than get on the subway. You may have Siderodromophobia. The good news is you can successfully manage your fear of trains phobia or even overcome it.
What Is Siderodromophobia?
What is the fear of trains called? Siderodromophobia is the intense fear of trains or railways.
Are you curious about Siderodromophobia etymology? This term comes from these Greek words:
● “Sideros” meaning “iron”
● “Dromos” meaning “run”
● “Phobos” meaning “fear”
People with Siderodromophobia are scared of railroads, subways, elevated trains, and monorails. As a result, they are unable to travel using this mode of transportation. In severe cases, they cannot approach, talk, or see images about them. They may even react negatively upon seeing a toy train. Siderodromophobia is often associated with other phobias:
● Claustrophobia or the fear of closed enclosed spaces
● Social phobia or the fear of people or social situations
● Germaphobia or the fear of germs
A person with this phobia may also be afraid of traveling in cars, driving at night, flying, sailing, and so on.
What Causes Siderodromophobia?
Siderodromophobia causes are similar to that of other specific phobias. They can be external events, personality traits, genetics, or media coverage.
As with other phobias, your fear of trains can be a result of negative past experiences like:
● A loved one’s death due to a train accident
● Witnessing a train accident
All these can trigger an intense aversion to trains.
At times, it does not even need a trigger event. Media coverage of certain accidents can cause an aversion to trains. Watching an accident clip on TV on repeat can stay with you and cause a phobia to develop.
Heredity can also be a reason for someone to develop a full-blown phobia of trains. Do you have a family history of mental disorders like anxiety disorders or specific phobias? When combined with a trigger event, this increases your chances of having Siderodromophobia.
Scary stories and urban legends show stories of people who have been accidentally run over by speeding trains. Others have committed suicide by throwing themselves on railway tracks. No wonder people are scared of these vehicles.
What Are the Symptoms of Siderodromophobia?
Siderodromophobia affects individuals differently. One person may be afraid of derailment while the other might be afraid of crashing.
The following are the behaviors that encompass Siderodromophobia but are not limited to it.
● If you are afraid of derailments and railway accidents
● If you are afraid of unknown conductors or other railway employees
● If you are afraid of a lack of control
● If you avoid commuting by train
● If you avoid going to a train station
● If you avoid watching TV shows or movies with trains
● If you cannot go to railway museums or historic sites containing railway tracks
Sufferers may even have a panic attack. Others either freeze or flee the situation if they come across trains. If the only way to reach a place is to commute by train, sufferers may avoid going altogether. Here are more train phobia symptoms:
● Increased heart rate
● Cold sweat
● Digestion problems
● Dry mouth
● Butterflies in the stomach
● Hot or cold flashes
● Muscle tension
● Inability to manage anxiety
● Fearing an impending doom
● Fear of taking a train
● Difficulty concentrating
● Anger or mood swings
● Extreme anxiety
There is also anticipatory anxiety, which is the anxiety felt before the scheduled trip. The person may start fretting about the journey even before boarding a train. It is quite common and can be worse than the fear felt during the journey. If left untreated, Siderodromophobia can get worse and interfere with one’s life. At the mere whistle of a train, a person with this phobia may start trembling and panicking. It reaches a point that the sufferer cannot bear even the thought of commuting on a train.
Self-Help Guide to Siderodromophobia
The treatments that work on most phobias also work on Siderodromophobia. You can either take up anxiety-reducing initiatives at home or seek professional help. If your phobia is mild, you can control it with these self-help methods.
Yoga aims to join the mind and body. It is a popular method to release stress since it makes you aware of your body and breath. According to a study, yoga can enhance mood and may be as effective as drugs in treating anxiety and depression.
Strange but true: physical activity can relieve stress. When you put your body under pressure, it learns to cope with it. When there is an actual threat, the coping learned during exercise will help you a great deal. Exercises like cardio and swimming reduce stress hormones. The best part? These exercises also prompt the body to release happy hormones.
Meditation anchors your mind to a focal point. You learn to focus on all your senses rather than on your panicky feelings. Meditation helps you achieve mindfulness. This practice lets you anchor your mind to the present moment. It combats any negative thinking or emotions.
Write It Down
Keep a journal. Writing what you are stressed about can relieve stress. By listing things that you are grateful for, you focus your thoughts on the positive aspects of your life.
High amounts of caffeine affect your health. Aside from hyperacidity, coffee can worsen your anxiety. Cutting down on coffee will help you manage your phobia symptoms better.
Professional Help to Treat Siderodromophobia
If you’re unable to contain your anxiety through self-help techniques, professional guidance will help you dig deeper into the problem. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a common technique used for Siderodromophobia. With this therapy, you learn to:
● Change your thoughts and responses from the negative to the positive
● Stop and redirect your negative thoughts about trains
● Change your behavior towards trains
Other than CBT, other psychotherapies and medical treatments can also be used to ease Siderodromophobia.
● Exposure therapy
● Dialectical Behavior therapy
● Talking therapy
● Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction
● Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)
● Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
How to Cope with Siderodromophobia
Coping with your phobia becomes a necessity when it starts to affect your personal, social, and professional life. If a train is the only means of transport where you live, you will end up wasting time searching for alternatives. That’s just one side of the story. Eventually, the phobia can adversely affect your career as you find it difficult to commute to the office.
Following are some methods that can help you through your anxiety,
● Start by spending time at a railway station
● Breathe purposefully and deeply, focus on it.
● Visualize happy thoughts or a happy place.
● Start listing things to divert attention.
● Chewing gum is also an easy way to relieve stress.
Is it possible to have a productive life when you have this phobia? Yes, if you are willing to put in the time and effort for Siderodromophobia treatment. It can be treated no matter what caused it. Only you can train your mind to cope with this phobia of trains. Take simple steps to reduce the pressure and give yourself time to adjust. Soon, you can confidently ride the train even during rush hour.