Philosophobia is the irrational fear of philosophy. Someone experiencing this mental illness may experience intense bouts of anxiety when discussing or thinking about philosophy. Their fear of philosophy is very much out of touch with reality, which is a large reason as to why they suffer from such intense anxiety.
They may find it very difficult to nearly impossible to cope with the strong emotions associated with this condition. Their inability to adeptly do this will likely exacerbate their symptoms.
Someone suffering from philosophobia may not even understand what philosophy is for them to be extremely fearful of it. They may withhold irrational beliefs that philosophy is something worthy of being feared or that it is inherently abysmal. Such ignorance may be a large factor as to why someone may even develop philosophobia to begin with, insofar that they had the proper genetics to do so.
Philosophy is defined as the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge. So, this discipline has existed for as long as human beings were intelligent enough to be introspective. Nevertheless, philosophy as we know it today is mainly a result of what occurred in Ancient Greece around the 6th century B.C.E. The deep thinkers of this time are now known as “Presocratics” because they came before Socrates.
Symptoms of Philosophobia
As is the case with virtually all other phobias, anxiety will be the most profound symptom experienced in those suffering from philosophobia. Someone suffering from philosophobia may endure anxiety that is so intrusive and extreme that they may even experience full blown panic attacks due to their irrational fear of philosophy. Depending on the severity of their symptoms, they may even need to be hospitalized as a result of their panic attack.
Though intense dread and terror will undoubtedly be the most common symptom in people with philosophobia, there are other symptoms that they may experience as well. Philosophobia is similar to all other phobias in the sense that it has its own spectrum of intensity. So, while some people will experience full blown panic attacks as a result of their philosophobia, others may only endure very uncomfortable anxiety.
Depending on the severity of their mental illness, they may even make decisions which will affect their day to day life. For example, someone who has an intense fear of philosophy may choose to not associate with anyone else who studies philosophy or who even holds different opinions about philosophy than they do. Though they may realize that their choice to disassociate themselves from certain people based on a single belief difference is irrational, in the midst of painstaking anxiety or during a panic attack, they may be unable to convince themselves of this.
Below, you will see some more common symptoms of this phobia:
- Intense anxiety when discussing or hearing about philosophy
- Anxiety when thinking about philosophy
- Unable to cope with intense emotions
- Muscle tension, shakiness, and sweating
Causes of Philosophobia
There is no known cause of philosophobia. However, genetics and one’s environment may play significant roles. For instance, someone with a family history of mental illness may have a higher chance of developing philosophobia due to their increased chance of having a genetic predisposition to do so. If they were to have such a genetic predisposition, it may then require that they only experience a traumatic event of some sort for them to develop full blown philosophobia.
Such a traumatic experience may be that they were brainwashed as a young child to believe that philosophy is something to be feared. In fact, there are some religions that are outspokenly overt about their distasteful convictions toward philosophy. Being conditioned to think and feel in such a way as a young child may cause them to develop philosophobia insofar as they have the genetic makeup to do so.
Though we are unsure as to the exact causes of philosophobia, the best we can do at this point in time is to look at the most pertinent causal factors which can potentially lead someone to develop an irrational fear of philosophy. As is the case with virtually all other mental illnesses, genetics and one’s environment are among the most significant factors for why someone may or may not develop any given psychological disorder.
There is no treatment that is specifically designed for philosophobia. However, exposure therapy may be quite advantageous for treating this phobia. Just as the name implies, exposure therapy works by slowly exposing the patient to that which they fear over a given period of time. Essentially, the more they are exposed to their fear, the less it will bother them over time. However, exposure therapy isn’t for everyone and it should be implemented by an experienced therapist to ensure the best results.
So, with treating philosophobia using exposure therapy, the therapist may expose the patient to philosophy by reading the work of philosophers directly to the patient, discussing specific philosophical arguments, looking at pictures/statues of philosophers, or by watching videos of philosophers speak. Though experiencing such events may evoke intense anxiety within the patient, if implemented correctly, they should be able to experience less and less anxiety when faced with the same stimulus over time.
Besides exposure therapy, anti-anxiety medication may also be beneficial for someone suffering from philosophobia. However, it should be noted that merely taking medication alone may not be enough to sufficiently cope with all of the symptoms associated with this disorder.
Yoga Poses for Philosophobia
There are numerous different yoga poses that can substantially benefit someone who is suffering from philosophobia. 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 philosophobia 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 philosophobia 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 philosophobia.
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 philosophobia, you can also expect to acquire increased strength and flexibility, among other benefits.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) for Philosophobia
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 philosophobia as mindfulness meditation has been shown to be very beneficial for anxious people. In such a structured program, someone with philosophobia 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 philosophobia, as well as where to find MBSR programs in your area.
Meditation for Philosophobia
There are many different forms of meditation that exists which can be very advantageous for someone suffering from philosophobia. Specifically, mindfulness meditation has been shown to be quite beneficial for helping people to enter into a more equanimous 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 philosophobia 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 philosophobia 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 philosophobia, 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 philosophobia. Also, remember that it will take a lot of practice to become an adept meditator. So, practice is key.
Exposure Therapy for Philosophobia
As previously mentioned, exposure therapy is one of the most common ways to treat anxiety disorders such as philosophobia. 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 philosophobia 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 philosophobia to their fear, then doing so could be highly counterproductive to the point to where their philosophobia may become immensely worse due to the therapy alone. So, it is paramount that the therapist implementing exposure therapy for someone with philosophobia 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.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Philosophobia
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 philosophobia 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 philosophobia given the sheer automaticity of their symptoms. For example, when someone with philosophobia 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 philosophobia engaging in CBT can also expect to learn various other skills aimed at helping to relieve the anxiety caused by their condition.
Psychiatric Medications for Philosophobia
These types of medications are very useful to help prevent panic attacks. Such drugs can be extremely useful for people suffering from severe philosophobia 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 philosophobia 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 philosophobia. Some common antidepressants are Paxil, Zoloft, and Lexapro, among several others. These drugs may be able to help reduce some of the symptoms of philosophobia.
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 philosophobia, as well as whether or not it is safe to do so.
Exercise for Philosophobia
Exercise has been shown to be extremely beneficial for people suffering from anxiety disorders, including philosophobia. 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 philosophobia 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 philosophobia, 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 philosophobia over time.
Limiting Caffeine for Philosophobia
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 philosophobia 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 philosophobia.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for Philosophobia
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 philosophobia 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 philosophobia 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 philosophobia 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 philosophobia. 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 philosophobia when you are actually exposed to the specific fear associated with it in real life.
If you think you may be suffering from some of the symptoms of this condition, then you may benefit from therapy. Feel free to reach out to your doctor or local mental health clinic to see what your available options are and to see if there is any sort of discount or promo code available to help you with the costs of treatment, as well as if your health insurance will cover treatment costs.