Understanding Siderophobia – The Fear of Stars
Are you a stargazer? Or perhaps not. Not everyone enjoys looking up at the night sky. If you tend to avoid wishing upon a star, you might be suffering from siderophobia, a fear of stars.
Though siderophobia focuses on stars themselves, it may have a deep-rooted connection to the fear of the dark or a fear of being alone. Siderophobia can also originate from a fear of space exploration. The mystery of outer space is intriguing for many, but for some the idea may hold terror.
For those suffering with siderophobia, the mere thought of stars might elicit thoughts about dying or death. In most cases, sufferers recognize that they have irrational thoughts but are unable to control them.
What Is Siderophobia and What Are the Causes?
Siderophobia is an irrational and intense fear of stars. It is an uncommon phobia. Not everyone sympathizes with or understands the condition. They don’t recognize that the fear is real to the person experiencing siderophobia. As a result, the phobic individual might face ridicule, causing them embarrassment. In turn, they link that loss of control with their source of fear. Consequently, it becomes a vicious cycle. Let’s look at a few causes.
This fear might have developed in some because of a traumatic event during their childhood. In this case, the person might have heard reports of astronauts dying or being stranded in space.
Caregivers and Parents
Anxious caregivers and parents can fill a child with fearful thoughts and ideas. In other cases, an older sibling might have narrated stories regarding the vastness and mysterious aspects of space, which could elicit fear.
Scientists concur that most phobias are the result of learned behaviors. If someone learns to fear stars, over time , they maintain the association of stars with feelings of fear, insecurity, and embarrassment of losing control.
At times, genetics or hereditary factors are responsible for developing a phobia. Therefore, if your parents were anxious or nervous, you have a high likelihood of developing anxiety disorders or a phobia. Similarly, some are just more susceptible to developing phobia and a chemical imbalance might lead to such anxieties and insecurities. Phobias often run in families but the intensity might differ across people.
Literature and Media
Watching sci-fi movies showing space missions, for instance, aids the development of siderophobia. Some movies have caused certain people to fear space, stars, etc. Space disasters featured in the media can also contribute to the development of the phobia. For instance, a disaster that kills all crew members is likely to elicit fear among some.
Symptoms of Siderophobia
Those with siderophobia aren’t merely uncomfortable with the thought of stars. Rather, they have persistent anxiety and fear that affects various aspects of their lives. Some will even avoid being outside at night to avoid seeing stars. Symptoms of siderophobia manifest both physically and psychologically.
- Trembling, shaking
- Cold or hot flashes
- Vomiting, nausea
- Dry mouth
- Disorientation or confusion
- Fear of dying
- Social withdrawal
- Shame, guilt, self-blame
- Feelings of dread
- Feeling disconnected
- Fear of losing control
Those suffering with siderophobia might lose friends or develop social isolation. They may work to avoid anything to do with their source of fear. For instance, they may avoid reading about stars or watching movies featuring them. The mere thought of stars could cause a sense of panic. Also, simply imagining them could trigger symptoms.
Treatment for Siderophobia
Many sufferers don’t tend to seek treatment. Instead, they simply avoid the source of their fear. However, this strategy isn’t effective for addressing the condition. Although there’s no single treatment to address the phobia, a combination of self-help strategies and professional treatment approaches can help sufferers enjoy a meaningful life.
Self-help Strategies to Cope with Siderophobia
Various self-help strategies can help tackle this condition effectively. To begin with, you can write your fears down. You’ll want to note down a positive thought for all negative or fearful thoughts you face. One way of dealing with any overpowering emotion is to establish a healthy way of expressing yourself. This makes journaling a beneficial tool in mental health management.
While people often link exercise to physical benefits, they often overlook the psychological benefits. Exercise offers a range of mental health benefits for those suffering from phobias like these. People with siderophobia often exhibit anxiety and panic, so exercise can offer a proactive way of releasing pent-up tension and decreasing feelings of worry and fear.
Exercise also reduces sensitivity to your body’s response to anxiety, while decreasing the frequency and intensity of panic attacks in some instances. Another reason to engage in exercise is that it fosters confidence and social support. Specifically, aerobic exercises such as swimming or cycling have a positive effect on phobic people. Before you start with an exercise program, you should consult your doctor to establish the best type of exercise and intensity level for your condition.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
In this approach, therapists help you organize your thoughts to achieve the desired behavior. This approach is effective because once you change your cognitions or thoughts; there’ll be a lasting effect on your behavior.
A therapist will help you establish the reason for your behavior and thought. The treatment is short-term and goal-oriented. It’s worth noting that the technique doesn’t concentrate on investigating the past to resolve present issues.
This approach is common when it comes to the treatment of phobias. In this approach, you’ll undergo exposure to the stimulus steadily with varying durations and degrees of severity. When it comes to the severity, the degree is hierarchical, from high to low.
The goal of this approach is to eliminate the feared stimulus and replace it with a response of relaxation. Initially, you will learn deep breathing techniques and present a list of your fears, beginning from the least fear-evoking circumstance to the most.
Mindfulness and Meditation
This approach makes you aware of your feelings, thoughts, and decreases interference from the environment. In this technique, you will also experience different sensations. When it comes to meditation, the approach changes the emotional attachment you have to your thoughts. It also helps detach your thoughts from the emotion of the phobia.
Take Charge of Yourself!
Taking charge of yourself could help sufferers manage anxiety, decrease stress, and cope with phobias. Do things that can enhance your mood by allowing you to prioritize fears and concerns, encourage positive self-talk and recognize negative behaviors and thoughts. Track all signs so you can identify triggers and discover ways to control them better.
Look at it this way: your fear focuses on the current circumstance. So, you must remember that your thoughts determine how you act or respond to certain situations and stimuli. Therefore, negative thoughts produce a negative behavior reaction or unwelcome behavior.
While siderophobia is among the rare phobias that people seldom understand, the effects are real for those who experience it. Fortunately, there are various solutions to help address the condition.