Coimetrophobia is the irrational fear of cemeteries. Someone suffering from this mental illness will find it extremely challenging to even think of cemeteries, let alone to actually be near one. The anxiety they will experience when in the presence of a cemetery will likely have a very strong impact on their behavior as they may avoid driving past cemeteries at all costs.
For people suffering with coimetrophobia, it may not be uncommon for them to also have or eventually develop phasmophobia (fear of ghosts), achluphobia (fear of darkness), or samhainophobia (fear of Halloween), among other phobias. However, this will likely depend on many different factors, such as their genetic predisposition and their environment.
Someone suffering from full blown coimetrophobia may be the result of their irrational fear of zombies or they may merely have a very difficult time coping with the reality that they themselves will one day die. Such a reality can be very difficult for some people, thus leaving them immensely fearful of anything that is associated with death, such as the case with being fearful of cemeteries.
In some instances of coimetrophobia, their intense fear of cemeteries may be so overbearing that they may experience full blown panic attacks as a result. In such a situation, they can expect to experience an increased heart rate, an increased rate of breathing, excessive sweating, and muscle tension, among other things. Though it is not always the case, their panic attack may be so abysmal that they may even need to be hospitalized.
Symptoms of Coimetrophobia
As is the case with virtually all other phobias, anxiety will be one of the main symptoms experienced with coimetrophobia. Depending on the severity of their fear of cemeteries, someone with coimetrophobia may alter their behavior in an attempt to avoid seeing or thinking of cemeteries. For example, they may refuse to drive on roads where they will cross paths with a cemetery, they may refuse to watch movies which show cemeteries, avoid Halloween themed haunted houses, or anything else that may remind them of a graveyard.
Though avoiding cemeteries will likely give them some immediate relief from their anxiety, it will likely do them more harm than good in the long run. This is because by them doing so, they will then be reassuring themselves that cemeteries are something worthy of being feared and avoided. Thus, reinforcing their fear of cemeteries and worsening their coimetrophobia.
Below, you will see some more common symptoms of coimetrophobia:
Anxiety when thinking of cemeteries
Anxiety when in the presence of a cemetery
Unable to cope with their anxiety
Muscle tension, shakiness, and sweating
May experience panic attacks
Causes of Coimetrophobia
There are no known causes of coimetrophobia. However, genetics and one’s environment may play very significant roles. For example, someone who has a family history of mental illness, especially of anxiety disorders or specific phobias may have a higher chance of developing coimetrophobia than someone who doesn’t have such a family history.
This is likely due to them then having a higher chance of being genetically predisposed to developing mental illness in general. If such a genetic predisposition were to exist in someone, then it may only require that they experience some sort of traumatic event for them to develop full blown coimetrophobia.
A traumatic event that could have been the catalyst for someone developing coimetrophobia could be that they watched a horror movie as a child which included a cemetery or perhaps they were terrified by an experience they had at a haunted house once. Such perceptions of these experiences are quite plausible for someone who is already an all-around anxious person and/or who already has a genetic predisposition to develop mental illness.
Though we do not know the definitive cause of coimetrophobia, the consensus among most mental health professionals is that both genetics and one’s environment play very significant roles in the development of virtually all mental disorders. So, taking a closer look at these two different parameters may shed some light as to whether or not you may be at risk for developing coimetrophobia.
Coimetrophobia Treatments (abridged)
Though there are no treatments that are designed to treat coimetrophobia specifically, there are indeed several treatment methods that can be very beneficial for helping someone to reduce their symptoms of this condition. One of those methods is called exposure therapy. This form of treatment is very common among those suffering from phobias and other anxiety disorders. Just as the name implies, exposure therapy works by having the patient become gradually exposed to their fear over a given period of time.
Though the patient will inevitably experience an influx of unwanted anxiety when they are being exposed to their fear, the goal is to get them to become desensitized to their fear over time. Theoretically, the more someone is exposed to something they fear, the less it will bother them the more they are exposed to it. So, someone suffering from an irrational fear of cemeteries may find that the more they are exposed to cemeteries, the less anxious they will become each additional time they get exposed to it.
Besides exposure therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may also be advantageous for someone suffering with coimetrophobia. CBT works by having the patient learn new productive ways to think about that which plagues them, which in this case will be cemeteries. Improving their relationship to such thoughts will help to give them a better perspective. They can also expect to learn numerous coping mechanisms which can significantly help them to reduce the amount of anxiety they would have otherwise experienced.
If you think you may have coimetrophobia or if you are suffering from some of the symptoms described in this article, then you should talk to your doctor as soon as you can so that you can be properly diagnosed and treated. Upon seeing your doctor, he may refer you to see a psychiatrist or a psychologist for further treatment. Remember, you should always talk to your doctor first before you take any medication or engage in any sort of treatment to ensure that it is safe and effective to do so.
Yoga Poses for Coimetrophobia
There are numerous different yoga poses that can substantially benefit someone who is suffering from coimetrophobia. In part, this is due to the meditative state of mind that yoga tends to emit in those who practice it on a consistent basis. Yoga can be thought of as meditation in motion. It can help to relieve some of the anxiety associated with coimetrophobia due to the mere fact that by engaging in yoga, your attention will be redirected to something more productive.
There are many different types of yoga that someone with coimetrophobia can benefit from, such as hatha yoga or hot yoga, among many others. Nevertheless, regardless of the many different forms of yoga that exist, virtually all of them can help to relieve some of the stress and anxiety that is associated with coimetrophobia.
If you have never practiced yoga before, then it may be in your best interest to take a class or watch some guided videos that can help you through each pose. Just like with meditation, the more you practice yoga, the more adept you will become at it. Besides helping you to reduce your symptoms of coimetrophobia, you can also expect to acquire increased strength and flexibility, among other benefits.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) for Coimetrophobia
MBSR is an 8-week evidence-based program that offers secular, intensive mindfulness training to help people who are suffering from anxiety, stress, depression, and other sorts of mental anguish. MBSR may be able to significantly help someone who is suffering from coimetrophobia as mindfulness meditation has been shown to be very beneficial for anxious people. In such a structured program, someone with coimetrophobia can expect to learn a plethora of different skills that can help them to relieve the intense anxiety that’s associated with their specific phobia.
Talk to your doctor or therapist to see if MBSR can help you to reduce the intensity of your symptoms of coimetrophobia, as well as where to find MBSR programs in your area.
Meditation for Coimetrophobia
There are many different forms of meditation that exists which can be very advantageous for someone suffering from coimetrophobia. Specifically, mindfulness meditation has been shown to be quite beneficial for helping people to enter into a more equanimeous state. There are many different ways with which you can implement mindfulness meditation and there are also many different meditation apps which are designed to make things as easy as possible for you.
Mindfulness has the potential to significantly help those suffering from coimetrophobia due to how it will help one to distract themselves from their fear by refocusing their attention onto something else that does not have any sort of emotional baggage attached to it, such as by focusing on the breath for example. This is one of the most basic ways that one can meditate and be present.
For someone with coimetrophobia in the midst of a panic attack, redirecting one’s attention to the various sensations felt when breathing can actually help to reduce the amount of mental anguish experienced during such an influx of anxiety.
To implement mindfulness meditation to help relieve one’s symptoms of coimetrophobia, you can do so by paying close attention to the way the muscles in your abdomen and chest contract and relax with every inhale and exhale. You can spend time dwelling on how it feels as your chest expands during each inhale and how it sinks in with every exhale.
Besides focusing on your breathing, you can also focus on the sounds around you, the way your skin feels as you touch certain objects, the way foods taste, as well as the way certain aromas smell. Essentially, honing into your 5 senses can significantly help you to reduce some of the anxiety that is associated with coimetrophobia. Also, remember that it will take a lot of practice to become an adept meditator. So, practice is key.
Exposure Therapy for Coimetrophobia
As previously mentioned, exposure therapy is one of the most common ways to treat anxiety disorders such as coimetrophobia. It can be an efficient way to help desensitize the patient to their specific fears. Be that as it may, it is imperative that the therapist implementing it on their patient is very adept at doing so. For example, if the therapist were to slightly expose someone with coimetrophobia to their fear, then it may not be very effective as they may need a higher amount of exposure to truly trigger any sort of worthwhile change in the patient.
The same can be said for the antithesis of this scenario. If the therapist were to excessively expose someone with coimetrophobia to their fear, then doing so could be highly counterproductive to the point to where their coimetrophobia may become immensely worse due to the therapy alone. So, it is paramount that the therapist implementing exposure therapy for someone with coimetrophobia has a very strong sense of just how severe their symptoms are so that they can know the level of exposure that the patient will likely be able to handle.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Coimetrophobia
CBT is a psycho-social intervention that aims to improve one’s mental health. It is a modality that is often used to treat people suffering from anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder and OCD. Someone with coimetrophobia may also be able to benefit from CBT as well seeing as how it would allow them to have a much better understanding as to why they think and behave the way they do in relation to their irrational fears.
CBT can be immensely helpful for someone with coimetrophobia given the sheer automaticity of their symptoms. For example, when someone with coimetrophobia is exposed to their fear, they will almost always have an instantaneous subconscious reaction to their fear. Such a lack of introspection is likely a large part of why someone with this condition will suffer to the extent that they will. CBT can help you to take a step back and analyze your fears more deeply than you typically would.
Besides learning to be more fastidious with regards to understanding one’s specific fears, someone with coimetrophobia engaging in CBT can also expect to learn various other skills aimed at helping to relieve the anxiety caused by their condition.
Psychiatric Medications for Coimetrophobia
These types of medications are very useful to help prevent panic attacks. Such drugs can be extremely useful for people suffering from severe coimetrophobia due to the fact that people with phobias often experience panic attacks as well. Some common anti-anxiety medications include Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin, among many others.
These types of drugs are not typically taken on a daily basis, but they may be insofar as their coimetrophobia is severe enough. However, this is something that you should first discuss with your doctor before you decide to do so to ensure that it is safe and effective.
These types of medications aren’t only for people who suffer from depression as they can also help people suffering from anxiety disorders as well, such as coimetrophobia. Some common antidepressants are Paxil, Zoloft, and Lexapro, among several others. These drugs may be able to help reduce some of the symptoms of coimetrophobia.
These types of drugs are typically taken on a daily basis. They can indeed help prevent panic attacks from occurring, but they are more so used to help reduce people’s daily anxiety. Talk to your doctor to see if taking antidepressants can help to reduce your symptoms of coimetrophobia, as well as whether or not it is safe to do so.
Exercise for Coimetrophobia
Exercise has been shown to be extremely beneficial for people suffering from anxiety disorders, including coimetrophobia. Specifically, cardiovascular exercise can significantly help to relieve one’s stress. This is not to say that weight-resistance training would not benefit someone with anxiety, but rather that aerobic exercise is has been shown to be more effective at releasing those feel good chemicals in the brain, such as endorphins.
According to the American Psychology Association, exercise can help to condition the mind to better cope with stressful situations. This makes sense when we take into consideration the high amount of stress that the body is put under during strenuous exercise. So, if you yourself are sedentary, then engaging in some form of aerobic exercise may be able to significantly help reduce your symptoms of coimetrophobia by making it much easier for you to cope with the anxiety and stress that’s associated with this condition.
There are many different aerobic modalities that you can partake in to help reduce your symptoms of coimetrophobia, such as swimming, biking, skiing, walking, and jogging. You can also acquire the many benefits of exercise by playing sports such as tennis, soccer, basketball, and racquetball, among many other sports. Engaging in some form of exercise consistently may be able to help relieve some of the pain associated with coimetrophobia over time.
Limiting Caffeine for Coimetrophobia
It is no secret that consuming large amounts of caffeine throughout the day can aid in making you more anxious. This makes sense when we look closely at how caffeine affects our body’s physiology. When we consume a high dose of caffeine, our heart will start to beat faster and we become more tense. Essentially, our body will begin to go into a “fight or flight” state of mind. Such a frame of mind is often a precursor for someone with coimetrophobia to experience panic attacks.
So, consuming little to no caffeine throughout the day may be able to significantly help reduce your day to day anxiety. Although doing so will likely not make all of your anxiety go away, it will indeed help you to reduce any unnecessary suffering that you would have otherwise experienced if you were to consume a large amount of caffeine.
Beverages like coffee and tea are often high in caffeine, as well as some energy drinks. In fact, even some foods have caffeine in them as well, such as dark chocolate. Being more conscious of your daily caffeine consumption may help you to reduce some of the symptoms associated with coimetrophobia.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for Coimetrophobia
DBT is a very effective form of treatment for people struggling with emotion regulation. It is often used to treat people suffering from borderline personality disorder. Nevertheless, it can also be very advantageous for someone suffering from anxiety disorders like coimetrophobia too. This is due to the numerous amount of coping skills you can expect to learn in a DBT group. These groups typically last about 6 months long and can have anywhere from two people to several people depending on how many join the group.
One very effective DBT skill for helping someone with coimetrophobia is half-smiling. This technique works by having you think about that which you fear or upsets you all while slightly raising the corners of your mouth by lightly smiling, thus the term “half-smiling.” Although, it isn’t enough to just think about your fear while half-smiling, you also have to try and refrain from entertaining those painful emotions that your specific fear may evoke.
Mindfulness meditation is also heavily used in DBT and can greatly benefit someone with coimetrophobia as it is done in a group setting, which helps to put the patient out of their comfort zone. These group mindfulness practices may include drinking warm tea to hone in on the sense of taste and tactile senses or simply focusing on the breath.
Coping ahead is another very useful DBT skill that can help someone with coimetrophobia. With coping ahead, you will want to find a place where you can sit down quietly without distraction. Close your eyes and then think about the many different possible scenarios where you would face your specific fear and overcome it or cope with it. Doing so will help you to be much better adept at coping with your coimetrophobia when you are actually exposed to the specific fear associated with it in real life.
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