Tyrannophobia (Fear of Tyrants)
Tyrannophobia is the irrational fear of tyrants. A tyrant is defined as a cruel and oppressive ruler. Someone with tyrannophobia has an irrational fear that is out of touch with reality. So, someone who is truly living in an oppressive regime such as under a dictatorship lead society will almost certainly not have tyrannophobia. This is because the fear they may have for their oppressive ruler is not irrational.
People with tyrannophobia may be highly influenced by propaganda or by what they see on the news. They may not live in an oppressive society, yet they may act as if the possibility of that occurring could happen at any moment if such a tyrant leader were to come into power in their society.
People who suffer from this mental disorder do not do so based on moral grounds. It is very important to note here that someone with this condition is fueled by their irrational fear of tyrants, not by justified reasons.
Someone with this mental illness may experience intense bouts of anxiety at the mere thought of a tyrant or a dictator. They may feel anxiety that is so intrusive and intense that it is if they themselves were living under such a regime. Though this may in fact be the case, it is more likely for it to be the other way around as tyrannophobia is based on an inability to think rationally.
Symptoms of Tyrannophobia
The main symptom that someone with tyrannophobia can expect to experience is that of intense anxiety. Depending on the severity of their condition. They may even need to be hospitalized due to the intensity of their anxiety if a panic attack were to ensue. However, such an occurrence will likely vary from person to person.
Someone with tyrannophobia may be conflicted with themselves and may find it difficult to understand which part of their thinking is irrational and which part is rational. This may be the case as it is justifiable to have distaste and vitriol toward an abusive, oppressive leader of a country or a society. So, it may be difficult for them to realize when they have went “over board” with their fear thoughts. This may make it very difficult for them to reduce their symptoms.
If someone with tyrannophobia were to also have an additional anxiety disorder such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) or obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), then their symptoms of anxiety and dread may be greatly exacerbated. For instance, someone suffering with OCD may find themselves spending a great deal of their day obsessed with tyrants and the harm they may commit toward his people. Such convictions may only deepen their tyrannophobia.
Below, you will see some common symptoms of tyrannophobia:
Intense anxiety when seeing tyrants
Anxiety when thinking of oppressive leaders
May believe to be oppressed when they aren’t
Inability to cope with strong emotions
Muscle tension, shakiness, and sweating
Causes of Tyrannophobia
There is no known cause of tyrannophobia. However, genetics and one’s environment may play significant roles in its development. For example, someone who has a family history of mental illness, especially with anxiety disorders like phobias, may have an increased risk for developing this condition. This would be due to them having an increased chance of being genetically predisposed to developing mental illness.
If this were to be the case and someone were to have a genetic predisposition to develop mental illness, then it may only call for them to have some sort of traumatic experience for them to develop full blown tyrannophobia. Such a traumatic event may be that they were once living under an oppressive leader at one point in their own life or perhaps they were heavily influenced by what they read and saw in the media about various dictators.
Other reasons as to why someone may develop full blown tyrannophobia is that they may have already been suffering from a mental disorder beforehand. For example, someone with GAD or OCD may already be very anxious people and may obsess about things along the lines of politics and ethics. Such disorders and convictions may naturally sway someone in the direction of developing tyrannophobia, given that they have the genetics to do so.
Though we can look at many different potential causal factors of why someone may develop tyrannophobia, there is simply no known cause of how or why someone may develop this phobia, or any other phobia for that matter.
Tyrannophobia Treatments (abridged)
There are no forms of treatment that are specifically designed for tyrannophobia. However, talk therapy, exposure therapy, and anti-anxiety medication may be able to significantly help reduce the symptoms associated with this disorder. Talk therapy may be very advantageous as it can help the patient to become more cognizant of their faulty thinking, which can help them to improve their cognition. The therapist will also help the patient to acquire new and effective coping skills that they can use in the midst of a panic attack.
Exposure therapy is another very common and effective form of therapy to treat people who suffer from phobias. Just as the name implies, the goal with this methodology is to expose the patient to that which they fear in an attempt to desensitize them from that fear over time. If implemented effectively by a very adept therapist, then the patient may see significant improvements from their tyrannophobia.
The therapist may “expose them to tyrants” by showing the patient pictures or videos of oppressive leaders, especially if there are any tyrants that they fear specifically. Doing so slowly and over time may help them to reduce the intensity of fear they experience when they see these images. Thus, improving their tyrannophobia.
Anti-anxiety medication may also be able to help reduce the symptoms associated with tyrannophobia. However, taking medication alone may not be enough to successfully treat this condition in the long term as they may need to learn how to improve their thinking patterns, among other things. Such skills will need to be learned through some sort of therapy.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) for Tyrannophobia
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 tyrannophobia as mindfulness meditation has been shown to be very beneficial for anxious people. In such a structured program, someone with tyrannophobia 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 tyrannophobia, as well as where to find MBSR programs in your area.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Tyrannophobia
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 tyrannophobia 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 tyrannophobia given the sheer automaticity of their symptoms. For example, when someone with tyrannophobia 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 tyrannophobia 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 Tyrannophobia
These types of medications are very useful to help prevent panic attacks. Such drugs can be extremely useful for people suffering from severe tyrannophobia 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 tyrannophobia 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 tyrannophobia. Some common antidepressants are Paxil, Zoloft, and Lexapro, among several others. These drugs may be able to help reduce some of the symptoms of tyrannophobia.
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 tyrannophobia, as well as whether or not it is safe to do so.
Meditation Techniques for Tyrannophobia
There are many different forms of meditation that exists which can be very advantageous for someone suffering from tyrannophobia. 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 tyrannophobia 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 tyrannophobia 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 tyrannophobia, 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 tyrannophobia. Also, remember that it will take a lot of practice to become an adept meditator. So, practice is key.
Consuming Less Caffeine for Tyrannophobia
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 tyrannophobia 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 tyrannophobia.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for Tyrannophobia
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 tyrannophobia 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 tyrannophobia 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 tyrannophobia 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 tyrannophobia. 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 tyrannophobia when you are actually exposed to the specific fear associated with it in real life.
Exposure Therapy for Tyrannophobia
As previously mentioned, exposure therapy is one of the most common ways to treat anxiety disorders such as tyrannophobia. 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 tyrannophobia 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 tyrannophobia to their fear, then doing so could be highly counterproductive to the point to where their tyrannophobia may become immensely worse due to the therapy alone. So, it is paramount that the therapist implementing exposure therapy for someone with tyrannophobia 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 Tyrannophobia
Exercise has been shown to be extremely beneficial for people suffering from anxiety disorders, including tyrannophobia. 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 tyrannophobia 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 tyrannophobia, 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 tyrannophobia over time.
Yoga Practice for Tyrannophobia
There are numerous different yoga poses that can substantially benefit someone who is suffering from tyrannophobia. 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 tyrannophobia 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 tyrannophobia 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 tyrannophobia.
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 tyrannophobia, you can also expect to acquire increased strength and flexibility, among other benefits.