Siderodromophobia (Fear of Trains or Railroads)

Siderodromophobia is the irrational fear of trains/railroads. People who suffer from this mental disorder find it extremely difficult being near trains, and virtually impossible to be inside of one. Their intense fear of trains may alter their behavior and dictate certain decisions in their day to day life.

For instance, someone suffering from siderodromophobia may purposely drive on highways and side-roads that don’t run alongside train tracks, regardless of how much it inconveniences them.

Someone with siderodromophobia may also purposely live in an area that is nowhere near a railroad or a train station. They in fact may realize that their intense fear of trains is irrational and meaningless, however when faced with one their anxiety will often overpower their ability to think about it logically. Thus, leaving them very anxious.

Somewhat similar to the fear of trains is the fear of planes (aerophobia), which is typically much more common than siderodromophobia. Nevertheless, with the vast number of instances of trains fatally hitting cars, people, as well as animals, siderodromophobia seems as though it’s an illness that isn’t dissipating anytime soon.

Siderodromophobia Symptoms

People who suffer from this condition will often experience intense anxiety when near a train, crossing a railroad, or even merely thinking of trains. This deep emotional response is due to their belief that trains are extremely dangerous, deadly machines. Though there are many different accounts of people being killed from trains, virtually every instance is due to the hastiness of the driver by not patiently waiting for the train to pass. There have been countless instances where people try to “beat the train” before it gets to the car crossing.

Nevertheless, many people have been killed from trains and this reality can potentially evoke siderodromophobia in someone who has the right genetics to develop it.

Below, you will see some of the most common symptoms of this phobia:

  • Intense anxiety when on or near a train/railroad
  • Deep dread even thinking of a train/railroad
  • Purposely driving on routes that are nowhere near railroads
  • Being irrationally overprotective when crossing a railroad
  • Choosing to live very far from any railroad

Causes of Siderodromophobia

There is no exact cause for someone developing this phobia. However, genetics and one’s environment most likely play very significant roles in the development of this condition. Also, if you have a family history of mental illness, especially anxiety disorders, then you may have an increased chance for developing this phobia.

Some environmental reasons as to why someone may develop this condition are that perhaps they themselves have been in a vehicular accident with a train or maybe they know someone who’s experienced that tragedy. Getting hit by a train is a traumatizing enough experience for someone with the right genetic makeup to develop siderodromophobia.

Siderodromophobia Treatments

There is no specific type of treatment for siderodromophobia. However, Talk therapy, exposure therapy, and/or anti-anxiety medications may be able to help minimize symptoms. Exposure therapy may be very effective as it can be a useful way to help “desensitize” the patient of their fear of trains. If you think you may have this phobia, then you should speak to your doctor as soon as you can so you can start treatment.

Yoga Poses for Siderodromophobia

There are numerous different yoga poses that can substantially benefit someone who is suffering from siderodromophobia. 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 siderodromophobia 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 siderodromophobia 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 siderodromophobia.

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 siderodromophobia, you can also expect to acquire increased strength and flexibility, among other benefits.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) for Siderodromophobia

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 siderodromophobia as mindfulness meditation has been shown to be very beneficial for anxious people. In such a structured program, someone with siderodromophobia 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 siderodromophobia, as well as where to find MBSR programs in your area.

Meditation for Siderodromophobia

There are many different forms of meditation that exists which can be very advantageous for someone suffering from siderodromophobia. 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 siderodromophobia 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 siderodromophobia 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 siderodromophobia, 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 siderodromophobia. Also, remember that it will take a lot of practice to become an adept meditator. So, practice is key.

Exposure Therapy for Siderodromophobia

As previously mentioned, exposure therapy is one of the most common ways to treat anxiety disorders such as siderodromophobia. 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 siderodromophobia 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 siderodromophobia to their fear, then doing so could be highly counterproductive to the point to where their siderodromophobia may become immensely worse due to the therapy alone. So, it is paramount that the therapist implementing exposure therapy for someone with siderodromophobia 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 Siderodromophobia

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 siderodromophobia 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 siderodromophobia given the sheer automaticity of their symptoms. For example, when someone with siderodromophobia 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 siderodromophobia 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 Siderodromophobia

Anti-anxiety meds

These types of medications are very useful to help prevent panic attacks. Such drugs can be extremely useful for people suffering from severe siderodromophobia 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 siderodromophobia 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 siderodromophobia. Some common antidepressants are Paxil, Zoloft, and Lexapro, among several others. These drugs may be able to help reduce some of the symptoms of siderodromophobia.

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 siderodromophobia, as well as whether or not it is safe to do so.

Exercise for Siderodromophobia

Exercise has been shown to be extremely beneficial for people suffering from anxiety disorders, including siderodromophobia. 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 siderodromophobia 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 siderodromophobia, 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 siderodromophobia over time.

Limiting Caffeine for Siderodromophobia

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 siderodromophobia 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 siderodromophobia.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for Siderodromophobia

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 siderodromophobia 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 siderodromophobia 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 siderodromophobia 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 siderodromophobia. 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 siderodromophobia 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.

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