The fear of happiness, Cherophobia

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cherophobia - fear of happiness

Cherophobia is the fear of happiness, or aversion towards things or situations that might bring happiness or feelings of joy. For most people it seems an unreasonable fear to have, or many might mistake it for depression. But in reality, cherophobia is developed by the idea that when someone is happy, something bad will follow. The bad follow up will happen as a punishment for the happiness felt, hence one will try to avoid being happy.

The term comes from the Greek word “chero,” which means “to rejoice.”

For the most part of western culture, the concept of happiness is built upon the fundamental idea of being successful and having a lot of material possessions. These ideas are so embedded in people in the west that a billion dollar self-help industry is built around it. Topics such as “What’s the secret to happiness?”, “How to be happy” etc are the most common. People are willing to go to great lengths to experience this advertised happiness.

Cherophobia is a technical term that defines an aversion to happiness. It means the fear of gaiety, joyfulness, or rejoicing. This is different than depression or anxiety or any other mental state that comes from a lack of happiness. Cherophobia refers to an active avoidance of happiness or what makes one happy.

While it might seem like a scary, frightening clinical term, in difference to other phobias that might have much more graver impacts on the subjects health. Cherophobia is mostly just a difference in mindset.

Cherophobia Symptoms

Like most phobias, cherophobia is also categorised as an anxiety disorder.

  • dizziness, fainting spells, and lightheadedness
  • dry mouth
  • hot flashes
  • confusion or disorientation
  • nausea
  • headache
  • numbness
  • accelerated heart rate and a rise in blood pressure
  • a choking sensation
  • tightness in the chest/chest pain and difficulty breathing
  • an urge to use the bathroom
  • shaking or trembling and a sense of “butterflies” in the stomach
  • fear of harm or illness
  • sweating and/or chills
  • hyperventilation

In patients with extreme Cherophobia, the fear can lead to disabling anxiety. The patient even starts to avoid certain situations, people or places which naturally impacts his/her normal routine. If the phobia symptoms last for more than 6 months, it is very important to seek medical help.

Diagnosing Cherophobia

  • Fear caused by the anticipation of a specific situation
  • acknowledgment by adult patients that their fear stems from the anticipated threat or danger
  • engaging in procedures to evade dreaded object or situation, or proneness to face the situation but with discomfort or anxiety
  • the person’s evasion of the object or situation impedes with everyday life and relationships
  • the phobia is continuous, and has been persistent for 6 months

Treating Cherophobia

Because cherophobia hasn’t been largely detailed or studied as its own separate disorder, there aren’t FDA-approved medications or other definitive treatments that a person may pursue to treat the condition. However as any other anxiety disorder there ate some exercises and conditions you can put yourself through to overcome it.

1. Systematic Desensitization Therapy.

Systematic desensitization a behavioral therapy based on classical conditioning. This approach involves exposing patients to the object or situation they fear through simulation or actually gradually exposing them to what triggers them in order to combat their fear.

2. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)

This type of therapy educates the patient about the cycle of negative thought patterns and teaches techniques to change these thought patterns. CBT focuses on challenging and changing unhelpful cognitive distortions and behaviours, improving emotional regulation, and the development of personal coping strategies that target solving current problems.

3. Hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy is a type of complementary medicine in which hypnosis is used to create a state of focused attention and increased suggestibility during which positive suggestions and guided imagery are used to help individuals deal with a variety of concerns and issues.

4. exposure to happiness-provoking events as a means to help a person identify that happiness doesn’t have to have adverse effects

Not all those who fear and avoid happiness necessarily needs treatment. Some people feel happier and more secure when they’re avoiding happiness. Unless cherophobia is interfering with their own personal quality of life or ability to maintain a job, they may not require treatment at all.

However, if the symptoms of cherophobia are related to a past trauma. It means that there might be other underlying factors which mean when treated, may help to ultimately treat cherophobia.

 

Questions that might help you determine if you have cherophobia

  1. Are you afraid to let yourself become too happy?
  2. Do you believe that you don’t deserve to be happy?
  3. When you’re happy do you believe that something bad is going to happen next?

If your answer to any of these questions is a resounding yes, that’s a pretty good indication you might suffer from cherophobia. – source: GoalCast

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