Dutchphobia is the irrational fear of the Dutch. Anti-Dutch sentiment can be traced back as far as when the Dutch people and their culture rose up from the colonization undertaken by the Netherlands. This, along with several European wars played a significant part in people developing dutchphobia.
People suffering from an irrational fear of Dutch people and/or Dutch culture will experience intense bouts of anxiety that may lead to them experiencing full blown panic attacks. Dutchphobia is different than merely having an aversion to the Dutch. Rather, it is a mental illness characterized by intense, irrational fear of anything Dutch.
Though someone suffering from this condition may realize that their fear is irrational, they will not be able to control the anxiety they experience if left untreated. Depending on the severity of their condition, even thinking about the Dutch or discussing Dutch culture will muster up feelings of worry, dread, and even anger.
Their dutchphobia will likely cause them to make decisions in their day to day life which is a direct cause of their irrational fear of the Dutch. For example, someone suffering with this condition may refuse to have conversations with other Dutch people or even be near them.
It may also not be uncommon for someone suffering from this condition to move to a different location to ensure they are nowhere near the Netherlands or other areas where Dutch is a fluent language.
Symptoms of Dutchphobia
People suffering from full blown dutchphobia can expect to endure intense anxiety that is out of touch with reality. The amount of fear and disdain they will feel toward the Dutch will almost always be due to illogical reasons. They may be unwilling to discuss the Dutch or they may become extremely fearful or angered when such a topic arises in conversation.
Avoidance is a very common behavior with people suffering from anxiety disorders, especially with phobias. So, someone suffering from dutchphobia will likely find themselves making conscious efforts throughout their day to day lives trying to avoid the Dutch or anything that may remind them of the Dutch.
As previously mentioned, their anxiety may also be so intrusive and extreme that they may also have full blown panic attacks. If this were to occur, then they can expect an increased heart rate, increased rate of breathing, muscle tension, shakiness, and perspiration, among other things. In some instances, they may even need to be hospitalized insofar as their panic attack was severe enough.
Below, you will see some more common symptoms of dutchphobia:
Anxiety when around the Dutch
Anxiety when discussing Dutch culture
Anxiety when thinking about the Dutch
Unable to control their anxiety
Muscle tension, sweating, and shakiness
May experience panic attacks
Causes of Dutchphobia
Wars that occurred, such as the Anglo-Dutch Wars, World War I, and World War II may have something to do with some people developing dutchphobia, especially during the times in which those wars occurred. Besides these events, along with others, such as the Indonesian National Revolution, which was a war including the Republic of Indonesia and the Dutch Republic, other factors such as genetics will play a role in the development of this condition.
For instance, if you have a family history of mental illness, especially with anxiety disorders, then you may have a higher chance of developing dutchphobia. This may be due to the fact that you would also be at risk for being genetically predisposed to developing mental illness in general.
If this were to be the case, then it may only take experiencing a traumatic event of some sort to develop full blown dutchphobia. For example, someone who got wrongfully attacked by a Dutch speaking person may deem that all Dutch people are violent. Depending on the severity of their injuries and their genetic makeup, such an event may cause them to develop dutchphobia.
Though we do not know the exact cause of any given mental illness, the consensus among most mental health professionals is that both genetics and one’s environment play very significant roles. 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 dutchphobia.
Dutchphobia Treatments (abridged)
People suffering from dutchphobia may greatly benefit from exposure therapy. For someone with dutchphobia, the therapist may expose the patient to Dutch culture by showing them pictures or videos of the country. Doing so will inevitably give the patient an influx of unwanted anxiety. However, by doing so, it should help them to become desensitized to their fear of the Dutch.
Desensitization is one of the main goals of exposure therapy. Theoretically, the more someone is exposed to that which they fear, the less it will bother them over time. So, someone suffering from full blown dutchphobia may be able to greatly benefit from exposure therapy if treated with it on a consistent basis.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may also be very effective at treating someone suffering with this condition. CBT may be able to help the patient learn new and effective coping skills that can help them during the onset of anxiety. Besides this, they can also expect to find more productive ways to think about Dutch people or Dutch culture in general.
Anti-anxiety medication or antidepressants may be beneficial for helping to reduce the amount of anxiety that is associated with dutchphobia. However, merely taking medication alone without any form of therapy may not be very effective for long term improvement as the patient would not be able to learn the necessary skills needed to truly improve their condition. However, this is something that you should first discus with you and your doctor.
If you think you may have dutchphobia 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 specialist such as a psychiatrist or a psychologist for further treatment.
Exercise for Dutchphobia
Exercise has been shown to be extremely beneficial for people suffering from anxiety disorders, including dutchphobia. 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 dutchphobia 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 dutchphobia, 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 dutchphobia over time.
Practicing Yoga for Dutchphobia
There are numerous different yoga poses that can substantially benefit someone who is suffering from dutchphobia. 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 dutchphobia 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 dutchphobia 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 dutchphobia.
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 dutchphobia, you can also expect to acquire increased strength and flexibility, among other benefits.
Reducing Caffeine for Dutchphobia
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 dutchphobia 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 dutchphobia.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for Dutchphobia
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 dutchphobia 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 dutchphobia 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 dutchphobia 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 dutchphobia. 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 dutchphobia when you are actually exposed to the specific fear associated with it in real life.
Psychiatric Medications for Dutchphobia
These types of medications are very useful to help prevent panic attacks. Such drugs can be extremely useful for people suffering from severe dutchphobia 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 dutchphobia 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 dutchphobia. Some common antidepressants are Paxil, Zoloft, and Lexapro, among several others. These drugs may be able to help reduce some of the symptoms of dutchphobia.
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 dutchphobia, as well as whether or not it is safe to do so.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Dutchphobia
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 dutchphobia 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 dutchphobia given the sheer automaticity of their symptoms. For example, when someone with dutchphobia 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 dutchphobia engaging in CBT can also expect to learn various other skills aimed at helping to relieve the anxiety caused by their condition.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) for Dutchphobia
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 dutchphobia as mindfulness meditation has been shown to be very beneficial for anxious people. In such a structured program, someone with dutchphobia 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 dutchphobia, as well as where to find MBSR programs in your area.
Practicing Meditation for Dutchphobia
There are many different forms of meditation that exists which can be very advantageous for someone suffering from dutchphobia. 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 dutchphobia 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 dutchphobia 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 dutchphobia, 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 dutchphobia. Also, remember that it will take a lot of practice to become an adept meditator. So, practice is key.
Exposure Therapy for Dutchphobia
As previously mentioned, exposure therapy is one of the most common ways to treat anxiety disorders such as dutchphobia. 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 dutchphobia 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 dutchphobia to their fear, then doing so could be highly counterproductive to the point to where their dutchphobia may become immensely worse due to the therapy alone. So, it is paramount that the therapist implementing exposure therapy for someone with dutchphobia 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.
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