Fear of cold or frigophobia is a phobia related to the fear of being too cold. Those who suffer from this problem wrap themselves in heavy clothing and blankets, regardless of the ambient air temperature. This disorder has been linked to other psychological conditions such as hypochondria and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
In a 1975 study among ethnic Chinese in Taiwan, it was observed that Phrygophobia might be culturally linked to Koro. When this disorder causes men to feel that their penis is retracting into the body due to a deficiency of the “masculine element” (or yang), men with phagophobia correlate the coldness with an overabundance of the “feminine element” (or yin). ).
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Phrygophobia is a persistent, abnormal, and unjustified fear of coldness, even though the phobic individual consciously understands and others assure him that there is no danger. It is also known as chemophobia.
Society and culture
- Phrygophobia is known as Wei Han Zheng (畏寒 症) in China. From the point of view of traditional Chinese beliefs, the disorder is heavily influenced by an imbalance between yin (the female element) and yang (the male part).
- Traditional Chinese beliefs also state that working women are particularly susceptible to photophobia, triggered by stress, menopause, pregnancy, and other disorders such as anemia.
- During winter, these women are likely to experience cold limbs and back pain caused by the disorder.
- Cryophobia, or fear of cold, is a relatively complex phobia.
- Some people are only afraid of cold weather. Others touch complex objects.
- Furthermore, the definition of cold varies widely between individuals.
- Some people with cryophobia are only afraid of objects or freezing temperatures, while others are afraid of anything they perceive as “cold” to the touch.
- It is important to note that this fear can be extreme and should not be confused with a simple aversion to cold objects.
- The fact that you prefer not to come into contact with the cold does not mean that you have cryophobia.
- Cryophobia is often worst during the winter months, even for those who fear cold objects.
- Snow and ice can seem overwhelming, while objects that always feel cold, such as metal objects, feel even more complex during winter.
- However, the feeling of “cold” is different for everyone. It can be difficult for a person who feels cold when the temperature drops below 70 F to understand cryophobia in someone comfortable at 55 F. However, that person’s fear is no less real.
- Cryophobia can also be at the heart of the fear of winter activities. Even if you are generally comfortable in cold weather, you may fear spending the day skiing or sledding.
- You may also worry that something is wrong, possibly finding yourself in a situation where you feel cold but are a long way from a warm shelter.
- Cryophobia is more likely to occur in those who have had a significant negative impact from the cold.
- For example, if you have experienced hypothermia, fallen through the ice, or been trapped in a snowdrift, you are more likely to develop this fear.
- The negative experience does not have to have happened directly to you.
- If someone you know has had a cold, they are also likely to develop cryophobia.
- Even watching the news reports of a horrible accident can trigger fear in some people.
Those who suddenly move or travel from a relatively warm climate to a much colder one may also be at higher risk.
- However, cryophobia can also occur without any prior negative experience.
- Some people perceive the cold more sensibly than others, and some interpret it as something not only uncomfortable but terrifying.
- Over time, a generally negative perception could turn into a total phobia.
Management of cryophobia
- Many people find that they can handle milder cases of cryophobia with self-help techniques.
- Dressing warmly, avoiding unnecessary time outside, and keeping the house warm can go a long way toward alleviating mild fears. However, the most severe cases can be life-limiting.
- Some people cannot travel to school or work, avoid social occasions, and isolate themselves during the winter.
- Over time, a severe cold fear can lead to additional phobias, including agoraphobia.
- If your fear is severe, consider seeking professional help. Like all phobias, cryophobia responds well to a variety of treatment methods. You may never learn to love a ski vacation, but there is no reason for cryophobia to take over your life with service and hard work.
It is believed that the disorder can be treated using a combination of diet to rebalance yin and yang. Standard dietary treatment includes:
- Chicken Soup
- Turnip juice mixed with ginger juice and honey three times a day
- Red tea with ginger juice and sugar, twice a day
- Yeast-containing foods (for example, bread)
- Spices (ginger, chili)
- Vinegar diluted in water
- It is also believed that dietary treatment will be more effective when combined with an acupuncture routine.
A case of a 45-year-old Singaporean housewife with Phrygophobia was studied, and the results concluded that Phrygophobia is closely related to and strongly influenced by cultural beliefs:
- In general, treatments would consist of low doses of anxiolytics and antidepressants in therapy and psychological interventions.
- But generally, when Asian women are notified of the disease, they take various steps to recover.
- These include the removal of labor, avoiding exposure to cold air and wind, and, most importantly, taking dietary precautions.
- It would be essential to consider the patient’s cultural beliefs about the “disease” versus the therapist’s belief about the disease and then find a negotiable approach to treatment.
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.