Tachophobia is the irrational fear of speed. Someone with this condition may find it extremely difficult to move at a fast rate. In fact, their anxiety may be so intrusive and intense that they may even experience full blown panic attacks that may require them to be hospitalized. Though this may not be the norm, it is definitely possible to occur.
Someone with tachophobia may find it virtually impossible to be in a moving car, a boat, a plane, a train, or virtually any form of transportation that moves relatively fast. Their fear of speed may not be inclusive to them moving fast themselves. They may also be fearful of seeing objects that move fast as well.
Their tachophobia may be deeply rooted in a lack of sense of control as they may see fast moving objects as being chaotic or unpredictable. However, this is just one of many different possible reasons as to why someone may develop tachophobia.
Someone suffering from this disorder may find day to day life to be quite difficult as they may make decisions that make it more challenging for them to get from one area to another. They may greatly depend on friends or family members to provide them with food or other items. They may also choose to live in an area that is within walking distance to grocery stores and other establishments so they can easily access fresh food and services without needing to exacerbate their tachophobia by driving or taking public transportation.
Symptoms of Tachophobia
As is the case with virtually every type of phobia, someone with tachophobia can expect to experience very intrusive anxiety when they are faced with their fear or even when they merely think of it. They may choose to avoid places or areas where they know they may see something moving fast (i.e. busy traffic, sporting event, etc.).
Though someone with tachophobia may feel some momentary relief when they avoid things moving fast, they may actually be making their condition worse in the long run by reassuring themselves that speed is something worthy of being feared. Though avoiding that which someone fears is a natural instinct, doing the opposite may actually help to improve someone’s tachophobia over time. Such is the case with exposure therapy.
It may also not be implausible to conceive that someone with tachophobia may also develop generalized anxiety disorder or even obsessive compulsive disorder. This is especially true if they find themselves to be overly concerned with their fear of speed or if they become obsessive about it. However, such an occurrence would likely depend on the individual’s genetic makeup, among other things.
Below, you will see some more common symptoms of this phobia:
- Intense fear of fast moving objects
- Intense fear of moving fast themselves
- Anxiety when thinking of speed
- Inability to cope with very strong emotions
- May experience panic attacks
- Muscle tension and sweating
Causes of Tachophobia
There are no known causes of tachophobia. However, one’s genetic makeup and environment may both play crucial roles in this disorder’s development. For instance, someone who has a family history of mental illness, especially with anxiety disorders, may have a higher chance of developing tachophobia due to their increased chance of being genetically predisposed to developing mental illness in the first place.
Such a genetic predisposition may then only require that they experience some sort of traumatic event. There are many different traumatic events that could occur which could lead someone to develop full blown tachophobia. For instance, a young child may be traumatized after riding on a roller coaster or perhaps an adult was involved in a near-fatal car crash. Such instances involve speed of high proportions and may be just enough for them to develop an irrational fear toward it.
Honing in on the exact causes of tachophobia may be just as difficult as it is with more complex disorders such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Nevertheless, it appears that genetics and one’s environment are likely to play very significant roles in someone developing any particular mental disorder. There is not a plethora of research that has been done on obscure phobias like tachophobia, pupaphobia, scolionophobia, and cyanophobia to name a handful. Nevertheless, genetics and environment are likely to be significant causal factors.
Just as there is no known cause for someone developing tachophobia, there is also no type of treatment that is specifically designed for the fear of speed either. Nevertheless, just like with most phobias, exposure therapy may be extremely advantageous for helping to decrease the symptoms of this disorder. Just as the name implies, the patient would be slowly exposed to that which they fear.
It is imperative that the therapist is very adept and has experience with treating phobias. This is very important due to the fact that if the patient is exposed to too much too soon, then the experience may only worsen their tachophobia as opposed to improving it.
In context to tachophobia, the therapist may expose the patient to speed by having them watch a video of cars racing or he may simply ask the patient to close their eyes and think of fast moving objects for a given period of time. The goal would be for the patient to be able to work their way up toward more exposure to speed and to eventually get to the point to where speed would give them little to no irrational anxiety whatsoever.
Though exposure therapy will likely give the patient high amounts of anxiety when implemented, they can expect to become desensitized from their fear over time. In extreme cases of tachophobia, the patient may need to be on some sort of anti-anxiety medication insofar as they talk to their doctor first. Though anti-anxiety medication may be able to help reduce the intensity of anxiety that someone with tachophobia may experience, simply taking medication alone may not be enough to truly improve this condition in the long run as they will likely need to learn how to improve their thinking patterns.
Yoga Poses for Tachophobia
There are numerous different yoga poses that can substantially benefit someone who is suffering from tachophobia. 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 tachophobia 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 tachophobia 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 tachophobia.
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 tachophobia, you can also expect to acquire increased strength and flexibility, among other benefits.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) for Tachophobia
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 tachophobia as mindfulness meditation has been shown to be very beneficial for anxious people. In such a structured program, someone with tachophobia 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 tachophobia, as well as where to find MBSR programs in your area.
Meditation for Tachophobia
There are many different forms of meditation that exists which can be very advantageous for someone suffering from tachophobia. 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 tachophobia 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 tachophobia 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 tachophobia, 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 tachophobia. Also, remember that it will take a lot of practice to become an adept meditator. So, practice is key.
Exposure Therapy for Tachophobia
As previously mentioned, exposure therapy is one of the most common ways to treat anxiety disorders such as tachophobia. 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 tachophobia 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 tachophobia to their fear, then doing so could be highly counterproductive to the point to where their tachophobia may become immensely worse due to the therapy alone. So, it is paramount that the therapist implementing exposure therapy for someone with tachophobia 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 Tachophobia
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 tachophobia 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 tachophobia given the sheer automaticity of their symptoms. For example, when someone with tachophobia 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 tachophobia 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 Tachophobia
These types of medications are very useful to help prevent panic attacks. Such drugs can be extremely useful for people suffering from severe tachophobia 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 tachophobia 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 tachophobia. Some common antidepressants are Paxil, Zoloft, and Lexapro, among several others. These drugs may be able to help reduce some of the symptoms of tachophobia.
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 tachophobia, as well as whether or not it is safe to do so.
Exercise for Tachophobia
Exercise has been shown to be extremely beneficial for people suffering from anxiety disorders, including tachophobia. 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 tachophobia 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 tachophobia, 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 tachophobia over time.
Limiting Caffeine for Tachophobia
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 tachophobia 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 tachophobia.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for Tachophobia
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 tachophobia 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 tachophobia 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 tachophobia 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 tachophobia. 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 tachophobia 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.