Macrophobia (Fear of Long Waits)
Macrophobia is the fear of long waits. Someone experiencing this condition may endure extreme bouts of anxiety when in a long line or when being put on hold on the phone. Their fear is greatly out of touch with reality and they may find it extremely difficult to cope with the intense motions that are associated with macrophobia.
They may in fact realize that their fear of long waits is irrational, but in the midst of an anxiety provoking situation or a full blown panic attack, they will often be unable to think coherently enough to rationalize their way out of their fear. This may be a large factor as to why they experience the amount of mental anguish that they experience.
The intense fear that someone with macrophobia will experience may influence certain day to day life decisions. For instance, someone suffering with macrophobia may purposely choose to get groceries at midnight as opposed to a much more convenient time so that they can reduce the risk of them being faced with a very long checkout line. They may also find it extremely painful to go to restaurants, theme parks, or other places that typically require you to wait for a relatively long period of time.
Depending on the severity of their symptoms, someone with macrophobia may find that they stay home-bound more than they would truly like to. They may do this as an attempt to “avoid” that which gives them anxiety. They may think that if they stay home or avoid situations that may force them to wait, then they will feel less anxiety. Though this may work in the short term, doing so will only reinforce the intense fears that they withhold. Thus, worsening their macrophobia in the long term.
Symptoms of Macrophobia
As is the case with virtually all phobias, anxiety will be the most common symptom that you can expect to experience with macrophobia. Someone suffering from this condition may experience anxiety that is so intrusive that they will have a full blown panic attack that requires hospitalization. Though this will not be the case for everyone, it is still possible that this could occur insofar that their anxiety was intense enough.
Depending on how their macrophobia affects them, they may also experience additional symptoms to that of just anxiety. If they find themselves avoiding places where they may have to wait, they may begin to feel inadequate or even become self-loathing due to their inability to relax when faced with a long wait. Withholding such convictions over time may bring forth additional symptoms such as feeling sad or depressed.
Though it is definitely plausible for someone with macrophobia to experience depressive symptoms or other unfavorable emotions such as shame and anger, it is without question that they will experience very intrusive anxiety that will greatly influence their overall well-being.
Below, you will see some more common symptoms of macrophobia:
Intense anxiety when faced with a long wait
Anxiety when thinking of a long wait
Unable to cope with intense emotions
May experience panic attacks
Increased hear rate and increased breathing rate
Causes of Macrophobia
There is no known cause of macrophobia. However, genetics and one’s environment may play significant roles. For instance, someone with a family history of mental illness may have an increased chance of developing this condition. This has to do with their increased risk of having a genetic predisposition to develop mental illness. If someone were to have a genetic predisposition to develop mental illness, it may then only require that they experience some sort of traumatic experience for them to develop full blown macrophobia.
Such a traumatic experience that may cause them to develop macrophobia may be that they were forced to wait for an extremely long time whether in a line or on the phone. They may have waited so long that they were unable to control the intense emotions that built up within them. Such an event could have very well left a permanent imprint on them. Though this may not seem “traumatic” for most people, it may be for a highly anxious person with a genetic predisposition to develop mental illness.
Though we can look at the many different potential causal factors of macrophobia, the reality is that we do not definitively know what causes someone to develop this disorder. Macrophobia, like all other phobias is quite complex and will almost inevitably vary from person to person. Nevertheless, the best conclusion that we can come to at this point in time is that genetics and environment may be very pertinent factors for someone developing macrophobia.
Macrophobia Treatments (abridged)
There is no treatment that is specifically designed for macrophobia. However, exposure therapy may be very beneficial. This form of therapy is a very common methodology for people suffering from phobias. However, it may not be for everyone due to the very intense anxiety that this form of therapy evokes. Also, it should be implemented by a licensed therapist who has a diverse experience with treating phobias.
Just as the name implies, someone with macrophobia undergoing exposure therapy will be slowly exposed to their fear by being repetitively exposed to their fear. Such exposure over time may lessen the impact that their anxiety has on them. Theoretically, the more someone is exposed to a fear, the less it will bother them. So, that is essentially the goal of exposure therapy.
Though it may not be very effective to expose a patient with macrophobia to long waits during an individual therapy session due to the patient having the foreknowledge that the session will only last an hour or so, they may not feel the true anxiety associated with their macrohobia. So, the therapist can instead help the patient to learn coping skills for when they are exposed to long waits on their own time. The therapist may also have the patient put themselves in certain situations where they will be forced to wait, thus exacerbating their anxiety.
If you think you may have macrophobia or if you have some of the symptoms outlined in this article. then you should talk to your doctor as soon as you can so that you can get properly diagnosed or treated.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Macrophobia
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 macrophobia 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 macrophobia given the sheer automaticity of their symptoms. For example, when someone with macrophobia 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 macrophobia 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 Macrophobia
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 macrophobia as mindfulness meditation has been shown to be very beneficial for anxious people. In such a structured program, someone with macrophobia 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 macrophobia, as well as where to find MBSR programs in your area.
Meditation for Macrophobia
There are many different forms of meditation that exists which can be very advantageous for someone suffering from macrophobia. 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 macrophobia 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 macrophobia 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 macrophobia, 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 macrophobia. Also, remember that it will take a lot of practice to become an adept meditator. So, practice is key.
Exposure Therapy for Macrophobia
As previously mentioned, exposure therapy is one of the most common ways to treat anxiety disorders such as macrophobia. 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 macrophobia 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 macrophobia to their fear, then doing so could be highly counterproductive to the point to where their macrophobia may become immensely worse due to the therapy alone. So, it is paramount that the therapist implementing exposure therapy for someone with macrophobia 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.
Exercise for Macrophobia
Exercise has been shown to be extremely beneficial for people suffering from anxiety disorders, including macrophobia. 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 macrophobia 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 macrophobia, 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 macrophobia over time.
Yoga for Macrophobia
There are numerous different yoga poses that can substantially benefit someone who is suffering from macrophobia. 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 macrophobia 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 macrophobia 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 macrophobia.
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 macrophobia, you can also expect to acquire increased strength and flexibility, among other benefits.
Reducing Caffeine for Macrophobia
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 macrophobia 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 macrophobia.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for Macrophobia
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 macrophobia 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 macrophobia 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 macrophobia 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 macrophobia. 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 macrophobia when you are actually exposed to the specific fear associated with it in real life.
Psychiatric Medications for Macrophobia
These types of medications are very useful to help prevent panic attacks. Such drugs can be extremely useful for people suffering from severe macrophobia 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 macrophobia 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 macrophobia. Some common antidepressants are Paxil, Zoloft, and Lexapro, among several others. These drugs may be able to help reduce some of the symptoms of macrophobia.
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 macrophobia, as well as whether or not it is safe to do so.