Mechanophobia (Fear of Machines)
Mechanophobia is the irrational fear of machines. Someone who suffers from this condition may find it extremely difficult to operate or even be around machines. For someone suffering with mechanophobia, they need only be in the presence of machines for them to feel intense dread and anxiety. Their fear may come from an inability to understand certain machines or it may arise from conspiracy theories about machines taking over the world.
People suffering with mechanophobia may live very simplistic lives, free from any technology whatsoever. We can clearly see groups of people who openly practice mechanophobia to this very day. Such is the case with some Amish people. This is not to say that these people are suffering from mental illness, as their reason to abstain from using modern machinery is heavily based in their religious beliefs.
Though these humble and hardworking people are more against modern technology than mechanical tools (used for farming), they are still very fearful and disapproving of modern day machines such as cars, smart phones, and computers.
Though the Amish are motivated primarily by their christian religious dogma, they (as a society) often make obvious conscious efforts to abstain from the use of modern machines and to live simpler life.
Symptoms of Mechanophobia
People who suffer from mechanophobia may experience intense amounts of anxiety when being around or even thinking about machines. They may take things to extreme measures by having little to no machines in their home at all. This means no electronic devices (e.g. TV, dishwasher, microwave, air conditioning/heater, washer/dryer, etc.). Those taking it to such an extreme to help ease their anxiety actually make their lives much more challenging by having to work around not using machines which are meant to make life easier.
In addition, for those who purposely avoid machines or who choose to own little to no machines in their home may be only making their mechanophobia worse in the long run by reinforcing their irrational fear of machines. Though their efforts of avoiding machines may give them momentary relief, doing so will more than likely deepen their intense fear of machines over time. Nevertheless, regardless of the actions they choose to take due to their mechanophobia, they will often experience great amounts of anxiety and stress.
Below, you will see some of the most common symptoms of mechanophobia:
Irrationally fearful of machines
Won’t use any machines
Has little to no machines in household
Doesn’t drive a vehicle or take a bus
May believe machines to be “evil”
May think machines are spying on them
Causes of Mechanophobia
There are many different reasons as to why someone would develop an intense fear of machines. For one, someone’s religion may be more than enough for them to actively stay away from machines. Someone with mechanophobia may also feel this way as a result of having a genetic predisposition to develop mental illness, as well as the occurrences of one’s environment. Also, if someone has a family history of mental disorders, especially with anxiety disorders and/or phobias, then they may have a greater chance of developing mechanophobia.
However, given the specific nature of this phobia, one’s environment may play an even larger role, but more research is needed to confirm this. For example, someone growing up in an Amish society may have the fear of machines ingrained in their psyche. They may have been taught to fear machines since the moment they were able to utter their first words.
Such conditioning may be enough for someone to develop full-blown mechanophobia. This is especially the case for those people who are already genetically predisposed to develop mental illness. Other potential causes of someone developing mechanophobia is that they are merely fearful of that which they don’t know. The fear of the unknown resonates strongly with some people, and it may be a potential cause for someone developing an intense and irrational fear of machines.
Regardless of the many potential, specific causes of mechanophobia, there is a consensus that genetics and one’s environment may play a very significant role in someone developing a phobia.
Mechanophobia Treatments (abridged)
There is no treatment specifically designed for mechanophobia. However, CBT therapy, exposure therapy, and anti-anxiety medications may be able to significantly help reduce symptoms. Cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT as it is also called may be able to help reduce symptoms of anxiety and fear associated with mechanophobia by getting you to think differently about machines. Upon undergoing this type of therapy, you can also expect to learn ways to cope with your anxiety, especially in the midst of a panic attack resulting from your mechanophobia.
Another very common form of therapy for those suffering from phobias such as mechanophobia is exposure therapy. Essentially, this type of therapy would work by slowly introducing machines to the individual over a given period of time. The goal would ultimately be to try and desensitize the patient of their fear of machines buy repetitively exposing them to it. Overtime, your symptoms of anxiety and stress should decrease when in the presence of machines.
Anxiety medication may also be able to help with treating the symptoms of mechanophobia. However, medication can only do so much as you will more than likely need to learn how to change your behavior. So, medication may be able to help when used alongside some sort of therapy. However, such a decision should be made by you and your doctor.
If you feel as though you may have mechanophobia, then you should first talk to your doctor as soon as you can before you decide to undergo any treatment or take any medication. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, she may send you to a psychiatrist or a psychologist to get properly treated. Also, upon seeing your doctor, it may be in your best interest to write down all of your symptoms along with any concerns you may have about your mechanophobia. This can be very advantageous as you will then be able to get the majority of your questions answered, if not all of them.
Exposure Therapy for Mechanophobia
As previously mentioned, exposure therapy is one of the most common ways to treat anxiety disorders such as mechanophobia. 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 mechanophobia 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 mechanophobia to their fear, then doing so could be highly counterproductive to the point to where their mechanophobia may become immensely worse due to the therapy alone. So, it is paramount that the therapist implementing exposure therapy for someone with mechanophobia 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.
Working Out for Mechanophobia
Exercise has been shown to be extremely beneficial for people suffering from anxiety disorders, including mechanophobia. 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 mechanophobia 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 mechanophobia, 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 mechanophobia over time.
Yoga Sessions for Mechanophobia
There are numerous different yoga poses that can substantially benefit someone who is suffering from mechanophobia. 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 mechanophobia 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 mechanophobia 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 mechanophobia.
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 mechanophobia, you can also expect to acquire increased strength and flexibility, among other benefits.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) for Mechanophobia
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 mechanophobia as mindfulness meditation has been shown to be very beneficial for anxious people. In such a structured program, someone with mechanophobia 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 mechanophobia, as well as where to find MBSR programs in your area.
Psychiatric Medications for Mechanophobia
These types of medications are very useful to help prevent panic attacks. Such drugs can be extremely useful for people suffering from severe mechanophobia 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 mechanophobia 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 mechanophobia. Some common antidepressants are Paxil, Zoloft, and Lexapro, among several others. These drugs may be able to help reduce some of the symptoms of mechanophobia.
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 mechanophobia, as well as whether or not it is safe to do so.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Mechanophobia
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 mechanophobia 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 mechanophobia given the sheer automaticity of their symptoms. For example, when someone with mechanophobia 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 mechanophobia engaging in CBT can also expect to learn various other skills aimed at helping to relieve the anxiety caused by their condition.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for Mechanophobia
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 mechanophobia 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 mechanophobia 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 mechanophobia 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 mechanophobia. 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 mechanophobia when you are actually exposed to the specific fear associated with it in real life.
Meditation Practice for Mechanophobia
There are many different forms of meditation that exists which can be very advantageous for someone suffering from mechanophobia. 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 mechanophobia 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 mechanophobia 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 mechanophobia, 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 mechanophobia. Also, remember that it will take a lot of practice to become an adept meditator. So, practice is key.
Control Caffeine Consumption for Mechanophobia
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 mechanophobia 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 mechanophobia.