Electrophobia is the irrational fear of electricity. Someone suffering from this condition can expect to experience a great deal of anxiety when when they are around electricity in some capacity. For example, merely being in a room with the light switched on may give someone with electrophobia an influx of painful anxiety.
Someone’s electrophobia may extend to include not only electronics like TVs and cell phones, but also household electronic appliances such as toasters, refrigerators, or electric stoves.
This may mean that they will refuse to use any of these electronic devices due to their intense, irrational fear of electricity. As a consequence of this behavior, they can expect to encounter many inconveniences as electricity plays a large role in most modern societies. However, not everyone suffering from electrophobia will refrain themselves from using electronic devices as this will vary from person to person and will be dependent on the severity of their condition, among other things.
In some extreme cases, someone with electrophobia may actually endure full blown panic attacks as a result of their fear of electricity. Although this will not be the case for everyone suffering from this condition, it is still possible to happen nonetheless.
If this were to be the case for someone with electrophobia, then they can expect to experience an increased heart rate, an increased rate of breathing, muscle tension, trembling, and excessive sweating, among other symptoms.
Symptoms of Electrophobia
As is the case with virtually every other phobia that exists, anxiety will be one of the main symptoms associated with electrophobia. The anxiety that they can expect to experience from their electrophobia may motivate them to refrain from owning any electrical devices at all. Although doing so may give them some acute anxiety relief, it will also make day to day life even more challenging for them as they will not be able to enjoy the many conveniences that electronic devices provide humanity.
Also, as previously mentioned, someone with electrophobia may experience full blown panic attacks insofar as the amount of their exposure to electricity far superseded their ability to cope with the many strong emotions such a situation would evoke. However, this will not be the case for everyone as there are many factors that should be taken into consideration first.
Below, you will see some of the most common symptoms of electrophobia:
Anxiety when thinking of electricity
Anxiety when near electricity
Unable to cope with their fear
Muscle tension, shakiness, and sweating
May experience panic attacks
Causes of Electrophobia
There are no definitive causes of electrophobia. However, genetics and one’s environment may both play very significant roles. For instance, if someone has a family history of mental illness, then they may have a higher chance of being genetically predisposed to developing mental illness in general. If someone were to have such a genetic predisposition, then it may only take them experiencing some sort of traumatic event for them to develop full blown electrophobia.
A conceivable way in which someone may eventually develop electrophobia, assuming that they have the genetics to do so in the first place, would be that if they were somehow electrocuted in the past. Such a painful and traumatizing experience may be enough for someone to develop an irrational fear of electricity in general.
Besides first hand experiences with being shocked or electrocuted, it is also plausible for someone to develop electrophobia by being terrified by a movie depicting someone being electrocuted or by actually seeing someone being electrocuted in real life. Although such cases are very rare, they may still have an everlasting impression on someone, which may then lead them to develop an irrational fear of electricity.
Although there is no definitive cause of electrophobia, the consensus among most mental health professionals is that both genetics and one’s environment may play very significant roles in the development of any given mental disorder. So, with this being said, you may want to take a closer look at these two different parameters as they may shed some light as to whether or not you may be at risk for developing electrophobia.
Electrophobia Treatments (abridged)
Just as there are no definitive causes of electrophobia, there are also no forms of treatment that are specifically designed to treat this condition either. Be that as it may, there are still several forms of treatment that can significantly help to improve some of the symptoms that are associated with electrophobia. Some of these treatment methods are exposure therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and some psychiatric medications.
Exposure therapy is one of the most common forms of treatment for people suffering from phobias. With regards to electrophobia, exposure therapy may work by having the therapist slowly expose the patient to electrical devices or by showing them photos or videos of electrical plants. Although doing this will likely give the patient an influx of unwanted anxiety at first, it may also help them to become desensitized to their fear of electricity in the long run. This is essentially 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.
CBT may also help someone suffering from electrophobia as it can be a way for the patient to learn why it is that they think and feel the way they do. Such knowledge can be extremely beneficial for someone suffering with this condition. Besides CBT, some psychiatric medications, such as Xanax or Valium, may also be beneficial for someone suffering from electrophobia. However, this is something that you should first discuss with your doctor to ensure that it is safe and effective to do so.
If you think you may have electrophobia 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, you may then be referred to see a mental health professional such as a psychiatrist or a psychologist for further treatment.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for Electrophobia
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 electrophobia 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 electrophobia 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 electrophobia 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 electrophobia. 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 electrophobia when you are actually exposed to the specific fear associated with it in real life.
Yoga for Electrophobia
There are numerous different yoga poses that can substantially benefit someone who is suffering from electrophobia. 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 electrophobia 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 electrophobia 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 electrophobia.
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 electrophobia, you can also expect to acquire increased strength and flexibility, among other benefits.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Electrophobia
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 electrophobia 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 electrophobia given the sheer automaticity of their symptoms. For example, when someone with electrophobia 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 electrophobia 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 Electrophobia
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 electrophobia as mindfulness meditation has been shown to be very beneficial for anxious people. In such a structured program, someone with electrophobia 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 electrophobia, as well as where to find MBSR programs in your area.
Exposure Therapy for Electrophobia
As previously mentioned, exposure therapy is one of the most common ways to treat anxiety disorders such as electrophobia. 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 electrophobia 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 electrophobia to their fear, then doing so could be highly counterproductive to the point to where their electrophobia may become immensely worse due to the therapy alone. So, it is paramount that the therapist implementing exposure therapy for someone with electrophobia 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.
Reducing Caffeine for Electrophobia
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 electrophobia 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 electrophobia.
Psychiatric Drugs for Electrophobia
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 electrophobia. Some common antidepressants are Paxil, Zoloft, and Lexapro, among several others. These drugs may be able to help reduce some of the symptoms of electrophobia.
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 electrophobia, as well as whether or not it is safe to do so.
These types of medications are very useful to help prevent panic attacks. Such drugs can be extremely useful for people suffering from severe electrophobia 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 electrophobia 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.
Exercise for Electrophobia
Exercise has been shown to be extremely beneficial for people suffering from anxiety disorders, including electrophobia. 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 electrophobia 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 electrophobia, 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 electrophobia over time.
Meditation for Electrophobia
There are many different forms of meditation that exists which can be very advantageous for someone suffering from electrophobia. 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 electrophobia 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 electrophobia 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 electrophobia, 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 electrophobia. Also, remember that it will take a lot of practice to become an adept meditator. So, practice is key.