The fear of haunted houses is a rare phobia that although it may not seem like it is very common. Is there a name for the specific phobia that refers to the fear of haunted houses? Is this a fear or a phobia, and what is the difference? How do you handle specific phobias like this one?
There is no official phobia name for the fear of haunted houses. That said, some people have coined names that resemble the real names of other phobias. For example, you may hear the unofficial term “hauntphobia.” Although many people develop this fear when they are young, most overcome it over time. What if you don’t?
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Fear vs. Phobia
Most of us get a little scared by a horror movie or even visiting a haunted house exhibit for Halloween. So how can you tell if your “fear” is just a normal fear or a phobia instead?
Fear of haunted houses is different from having a haunted house phobia. Being scared of the haunted house is part of the fun. However, a specific phobia of haunted houses or any other object is a debilitating anxiety disorder that can disrupt a person’s life and get worse over time if left untreated.
Both fears and phobias can have similar symptoms, including dizziness, heart palpitations, nausea, and shortness of breath. However, with phobias, these symptoms are more severe and, unlike “normal” fears, there is often a preoccupation with the object or situation.
When deciding if you have a fear or phobia of haunted houses, consider these two things:
Severity : How intense is your fear? Are you afraid of entering a haunted house expo or even driving near a place where there may be a haunted house expo? Are you a little nervous at home (or in a hotel or someone else’s home) late at night when you hear strange noises, or do you completely change your plans so as not to stay at the suspect’s home?
How much time do you spend thinking about your fear: Do you think about your fear every year on Halloween, or do you feel the fear even when you think about your fear (are you afraid to think about your fear?)
Learn more about how to tell the difference between a fear and a phobia.
Types of phobias
The fear of haunted houses is a true phobia, it is useful to define the type of phobias that are most common. There are three main types of phobias:
Social phobias – Social phobias involve a fear of certain social situations.
Agoraphobia – Agoraphobia is a type of phobia in which a person is afraid of being trapped or unable to get out of a situation.
Specific phobias – Specific phobias are those in which there is an irrational fear of a specific object or situation. Specific phobias come in four basic types: fears of something in the natural environment (like tornadoes), animal-related fears (like fear of snakes ), medical fears (like fear of blood ), or situational ( like fear of driving ).
¿Phobia or specific agoraphobia?
A haunted house phobia can be a specific phobia (fear of a specific object or situation) or agoraphobia (fear of not being able to escape to safety when you start to have a phobic reaction).
Treatment for the fear of haunted houses
In general, treating a specific haunted house phobia is easier than other phobias. It’s easier to stay away from potentially haunted houses (usually at least) than to avoid a thunderstorm.
For someone who does not have a phobia of haunted houses, the potential treatment of this phobia may seem easy, at least if it is not one’s residence that feels haunted. Since the phobia is an irrational fear, saying “don’t worry” doesn’t work. That being said, a good therapist can be very beneficial in helping a person recognize that their fear is irrational to help them overcome it.
There is no specific treatment regimen for people with haunted house phobias, but there are treatment approaches for other specific phobias that are likely to help. Some treatments for specific phobias include:
Medications – There are several medication options for people with specific phobias.
Psychotherapy – Mental health therapy for phobias, particularly cognitive behavioral therapy, can be helpful for those with specific phobias. It should be noted that some of the therapies that are often used for specific phobias may not be necessary or even ethical regarding the fear of haunted houses.
Even single session therapy has proven helpful for young people with specific phobias. Therapies such as exposure therapy and flooding, which essentially expose the person to the feared object, may not be necessary.
But counter-conditioning, an approach in which people are taught to react to the feared object or situation in a new way, practicing relaxation.
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.