Nelophobia is the irrational fear of glass. Someone suffering from this disorder may experience heightened amounts of anxiety at the mere thought of glass. Their fear may in fact be so intrusive and extreme that they may even experience panic attacks which could require them to be hospitalized. However, this is not likely to be commonplace.
There are many reasons as to why someone may develop such a unique phobia. Plausible reasons can be that they fear glass due to them being paranoid (i.e. being seen through windows). They may also develop nelophobia as a result of them once being injured by glass in some capacity. Such an experience has the potential to be very traumatizing, and this may be enough for someone to develop nelophobia.
Someone suffering from nelophobia may find day to day life to be quite difficult as glass can be found in virtually every house, business, and vehicle. So, it may be extremely difficult for someone with this disorder to function throughout the day. This is especially true due to the fact that people who suffer from anxiety disorders, especially phobias tend to try and avoid that which they fear. As you can probably imagine, avoiding glass may be very difficult to do.
Nelophobia is much different than other phobias such as selachophobia (fear of sharks), cynophobia (fear of dogs), and tyrannophobia (fear of tyrants) due to the fact that these phobias come with actual danger that is grounded in reality. This cannot necessarily be said for nelophobia (i.e. excluding malicious intentions and accidents, among other things).
Symptoms of Nelophobia
The main symptom that someone with nelophobia can expect to experience is anxiety. The physical symptoms of nelophobia that one can expect to experience due to anxiety is an increased heart rate, increased breathing rate, sweating, and muscle tension, among other things.
Other symptoms that someone with an irrational fear of glass can expect to experience is going to painstaking efforts to avoid places where glass is displayed or products that contain glass in them. This may not be practical and may greatly hinder the individual suffering with nelophobia.
It is also possible for someone who is suffering from an irrational fear of glass to eventually develop an additional mental disorder such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) or obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), among others. For example, someone who is suffering from nelophobia may eventually develop OCD if they find themselves consumed with thoughts of their fear of glass. Their fear thoughts may be so intrusive and repetitive that it may open the door for them to develop full blown OCD.
If someone were to develop an additional disorder with nelophobia, such as GAD or OCD, then they will likely experience more intense symptoms of this phobia. However, this will depend on each person.
Below, you will find more common symptoms of nelophobia:
Anxiety at the mere thought of glass
Anxiety when around glass
Unable to cope with strong emotions
Muscle tension, shakiness, sweating
May experience panic attacks
May try to avoid seeing glass
Causes of Nelophobia
There is no known cause of nelophobia. However, genetics and one’s environment may both play vital roles in the development of this phobia and for any other mental illness for that matter. For instance, if someone has a family history of mental illness, then they may also have a higher chance of being genetically predisposed to developing mental illness. If this were to be the case, then it may only take someone experiencing some sort of traumatic event for them to develop full blown nelophobia.
A traumatic event that may lead someone to develop nelophobia may be that they were severely cut by a shard of glass once before or perhaps they suffer from additional mental disorders which may mean them experiencing paranoia. These are just a minute amount of many potential ways someone can develop nelophobia via experiencing a traumatic event. Be that as it may, a traumatic event alone will typically not be enough to develop this phobia. There will likely also need to be some sort of genetic factor as well.
With this being said, the reality is that there are no known causes of any given mental disorder. However, the consensus among most mental health professionals is that genetics and environment both play a significant role in the development of mental disorders. So, deeper analysis of these two things may shed some light as to why you may or may not have nelophobia.
Nelophobia Treatments (abridged)
Just as there is no known cause of nelophobia, there is also no known treatment method for it either. Be that as it may, exposure therapy may be able to help minimize the symptoms associated with this disorder. Exposure therapy works by having the therapist slowly expose the patient to their fear over a given amount of time. Doing this will likely give the patient a lot of anxiety. Nevertheless, doing this will also help to desensitize the patient from their fear over time.
It is very important that someone who undergoes exposure therapy does so under the supervision of a very adept and experienced therapist. This is vitally important due to the fact that if the patient is exposed to too much glass before they are ready, then this may be counterproductive and may even worsen their nelophobia as opposed to improving it.
Besides exposure therapy, anti-anxiety medication may also be very advantageous for someone suffering from an irrational fear of glass. Taking such medications may be able to help minimize the symptoms of anxiety that are associated with this phobia. However, merely taking medication alone may not be very advantageous as the patient may need to learn new skills, such as how to properly cope with strong emotions. Such skills cannot be learned by simply taking medication.
If you think you may have nelophobia or if you are experiencing any 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 for your symptoms. Upon seeing your doctor, she may refer you to see a specialist such as a therapist or a psychiatrist.
Psychiatric Medications for Nelophobia
These types of medications are very useful to help prevent panic attacks. Such drugs can be extremely useful for people suffering from severe nelophobia 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 nelophobia 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 nelophobia. Some common antidepressants are Paxil, Zoloft, and Lexapro, among several others. These drugs may be able to help reduce some of the symptoms of nelophobia.
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 nelophobia, as well as whether or not it is safe to do so.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) for Nelophobia
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 nelophobia as mindfulness meditation has been shown to be very beneficial for anxious people. In such a structured program, someone with nelophobia 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 nelophobia, as well as where to find MBSR programs in your area.
Meditation for Nelophobia
There are many different forms of meditation that exists which can be very advantageous for someone suffering from nelophobia. 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 nelophobia 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 nelophobia 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 nelophobia, 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 nelophobia. Also, remember that it will take a lot of practice to become an adept meditator. So, practice is key.
Exposure Therapy for Nelophobia
As previously mentioned, exposure therapy is one of the most common ways to treat anxiety disorders such as nelophobia. 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 nelophobia 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 nelophobia to their fear, then doing so could be highly counterproductive to the point to where their nelophobia may become immensely worse due to the therapy alone. So, it is paramount that the therapist implementing exposure therapy for someone with nelophobia 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.
Yoga for Nelophobia
There are numerous different yoga poses that can substantially benefit someone who is suffering from nelophobia. 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 nelophobia 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 nelophobia 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 nelophobia.
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 nelophobia, you can also expect to acquire increased strength and flexibility, among other benefits.
Exercise for Nelophobia
Exercise has been shown to be extremely beneficial for people suffering from anxiety disorders, including nelophobia. 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 nelophobia 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 nelophobia, 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 nelophobia over time.
Caffeine Reduction for Nelophobia
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 nelophobia 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 nelophobia.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for Nelophobia
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 nelophobia 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 nelophobia 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 nelophobia 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 nelophobia. 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 nelophobia when you are actually exposed to the specific fear associated with it in real life.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Nelophobia
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 nelophobia 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 nelophobia given the sheer automaticity of their symptoms. For example, when someone with nelophobia 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 nelophobia engaging in CBT can also expect to learn various other skills aimed at helping to relieve the anxiety caused by their condition.
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