Fear Of Insanity(Dementophobia): Causes, Symptoms, Overcoming

Fear of insanity – Dementophobia is used to denote fear of insanity. It is derived from the Greek words Dementors and Phobos, which mean “madness” and “fear,” respectively. An individual who has Dementophobia experiences extreme anxiety or a panic attack when encountering a thought about going crazy or even a scene from a movie depicting a crazy person/situation.

Excessive fear of this type can affect daily life. Often, the fear of going crazy prevents the individual from leaving home or from having a stable job. Most patients of this type tend to be socially withdrawn and severely depressed.

You can also read: Fear of Eating: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments

Causes of fear of insanity

In most cases, a family history of the disease is the most likely cause of the fear of going crazy. History has shown that society is insensitive to people who suffer from mental disorders such as schizophrenia, manic depression, etc. In the early 19th and 20th centuries, the only solution to cope with insanity was to throw the patient into a mental hospital, where inmates were given electric shocks and chained.

  • Therefore, a person who has witnessed such cruelty towards a family member or friend, or seen it portrayed in the media, movies, news reports, etc., may be afraid of going crazy.
  • A very traumatic event in childhood, such as murder, abuse, or rape, can also lead to fear of madness phobia.
  • Many famous, talented, and brilliant geniuses have had mental breakdowns. Cases like the recent suicide of actor and comedian Robin William (the brilliant comedian allegedly gave up his life after battling depression for life and due to a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease ) could also exacerbate the fear of insanity.
  • Another famous case of a star descending into depression is that of the renowned singer, songwriter, dancer, and actor Michael Jackson.
  • From record-breaking performances to facing allegations of child abuse, pedophilia, substance dependence, lonely behavior, numerous divorces and relationships, obsession with cosmetic surgery, etc., it also emphasizes that genius, fame, talent, and wealth ultimately lead to madness.
  • Thinking such thoughts repeatedly or seeing these models succumb to depression and insanity can trigger Dementophobia in individuals.

Stressful situations also aggravate excessive thoughts about going crazy and could turn into a fear of insanity.

  • The phobic mainly believes that insanity could cause “crazy” or abnormal behavior, tics, loss of concentration, saying crazy things, etc., which could be ridiculed or ostracized by society.
  • This is true up to a point: society is often uneducated and unsympathetic to mental illness.
  • Stereotypes such as “all people with mental illness are violent, abusive, etc.” can cause us to reject all categories of people with mental illness.
  • This belief is often true to some degree: many cases have been reported of people with schizophrenia controlled by demonic forces or voices in their heads asking them to do certain violent things.
  • The number of cases of dentophobia increased after this famous murder.
  • It also led to more misconceptions and stigmatization of mental illness.

Today, however, modern medications can help prevent insanity and its symptoms, although they must be taken regularly and often for life. However, movies or news that show violent crimes committed by patients after stopping their medications can intensify dentophobia.

Symptoms of Dementophobia

Dementophobia also produces a variety of mental and physical symptoms that typically include:

  • General sense of doom, depression, anxiety
  • Panic attacks, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, etc., at the thought of going crazy.
  • This is compounded by interacting with a crazy person or viewing or reading reports about them.
  • The fear of being institutionalized, ridiculed by society, etc., can cause the phobia to lose touch with reality or become socially withdrawn.

Overcome the fear of madness phobia

  • It can be tough to control and treat the fear of going crazy. However, a mixture of medication and counseling therapy is known to prevent anxiety associated with the condition.
  • The downside of medications is that they can increase phobics’ belief that they are crazy, making it a challenging situation for family members.
  • Therefore, the patient needs to educate himself on the various mental disorders, particularly the one he fears suffering from.
  • Many modern therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, have also proven very helpful in helping phobics understand the meaning of their fear. Other helpful therapies for treating dentophobia are hypnotherapy and NLP or neurolinguistic programming.
  • Both can help you get to the bottom of the phobia and minimize its fearful thoughts and symptoms.

Georgia Tarrant
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Hello, how are you? My name is Georgia Tarrant, and I am a clinical psychologist. In everyday life, professional obligations seem to predominate over our personal life. It's as if work takes up more and more of the time we'd love to devote to our love life, our family, or even a moment of leisure.