The Greek god for sleep is Hypnos and the word phobia means in fear, hence the word hypnophobia was coined. The medical term is used to describe an individual’s fear of being hypnotized or sleep. To add to the root word origins, hupnos is the Greek word for sleep and phobia stays as the Greek word meaning fear.
Since phobia is abnormal, this specific sleep phobia can be safely defined as the persistent and unwanted fright of being hypnotized or sleep. And the number of people being afflicted by this type of phobia grows each day. And the treatment to sleep phobia may take years and may most of the time require an afflicted person exposure to his fear to be able to fill more comfortable in combating it. And an unchecked sleep phobia will certainly deprive a person from his ability to gain renewed energy brought about by regular sleep.
This odd behavior may have been spurred by a traumatic experience in the past and the patient has not been able to address the situation or seek medical help to treat the current medical issue. Panic attacks and strange behavior when awake can actually be the cause of the person deprived of sleep to be touchy and irate most of the time and because of this, he will be steered away from by his or her peers and by members of the family. The causes of sleep phobia may stem from a number of things but the reason why the person is acting the way it is because of episodes in the past that could have been very traumatic and it occurred while the person is sleeping, hence the body is acting in a protective manner by telling the body to keep awake at all times.
It may be a very disturbing personal experience or a witnessing to an event that happened to a different person while she or he is asleep. Or it may actually be triggered by a viewing of a film or a television show that involves tragedy happening while the main character is asleep.
Since the body’s reaction to sleep phobia may be emotional, there are physical manifestations that person is under attack and here are some of them:
- Irregular heartbeat
- An enveloping and overwhelming feeling of fear or panic
- Shortness of breath
- And very rapid breathing
Now these symptoms may vary from one person to another, and some people may even show a totally different manifestation of the disorder so it would really take an expert to determine what really is bothering the person. Medication is available for people with sleep phobia.
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Phobias should never be taken very lightly. Because, all phobias can to some degree limit a persons daily activities and are in some cases the root cause that make someone experience anxiety and leading up all the way to depression.
The People that are suffering from phobias, are most of the times purposely avoid coming into contact with what it is that triggers them to experience fear or anxiety. For example people that suffer from Hypnophobia, which is a Specific phobia, try to avoid not only the exact objects or situations that trigger it but sometimes in severe cases the thought of those thing all together.
There have been a lot of cases in which an individual has develop a phobia from sleep or of being hypnotized where they become fearful of experiencing anxiety itself because it would make them feel very uncomfortable.
A person doesn’t necessarily need to be in a situation exposed to sleep or of being hypnotized to experience Hypnophobia. The brain doesn’t have to be in that situation to experience the symptoms of panic. A persons brain is capable of creating a reaction to fearsome situations even when the subject is not actually in that situation.
People are different and so are all the types of phobias someone might suffer from. So the symptoms also vary strongly on the severity in which an individual is experiencing these fears. But generally speaking, Specific phobias and fears such as Hypnophobia fall under the category of anxiety disorders. Meaning that a person can experience any if not all of the below mentioned physical and/or psychological symptoms.
People with fear of sleep or of being hypnotized often experience panic attacks. These panic attacks can be extremely frightening and distressing for the person suffering from those. These symptoms most of the time happen suddenly and without any prior signs or warnings. No matter how overwhelming feelings of anxiety, a panic attack can cause real physical symptoms, such as but not limited to the ones below:
- hot flushes or chills
- shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- a choking sensation
- rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
- pain or tightness in the chest
- a sensation of butterflies in the stomach
- headaches and dizziness
- feeling faint
- numbness or pins and needles
- dry mouth
- a need to go to the toilet
- ringing in your ears
- confusion or disorientation
- tightness in the chest/chest pain and difficulty breathing
- rise in blood pressure
In some very severe cases, a person suffering a panic attack triggered from Hypnophobia. Usually when exposed to its triggers such as sleep or of being hypnotized. Can have one/or all of the following symptoms.
- fear of losing control
- fear of fainting
- feelings of dread
- fear of dying
- fear of harm or illness
- guilt, shame, self-blame
- Withdrawing from others
- Feeling sad or hopeless
- Feeling disconnected
- Confusion, difficulty concentrating
- Anger, irritability, mood swings
- anxiety and fear
On some very special cases, there may be people experiencing intertwined phobias. Or what may be called complex phobias. These can often have a detrimental effect on a person’s everyday life and mental wellbeing. Because they may limit someones life so much that they become uncap-able of leading a normal personal and social life. Hence triggering a chain reaction of the above mentioned symptoms and lastly depression.
Treatment of Hypnophobia
For many individual who are suffering from sleep or of being hypnotized – Hypnophobia. Don’t always feel the need of treatment because they can just avoid the object of their fear. This gives people suffering from Hypnophobia a feeling of control on the problem. But sometimes avoiding sleep or of being hypnotized might not be possible or enough.
It is important for someone to always seek professional help when possible. This way you don’t lose time and do a better job and understanding what is happening. With understanding you can next move on to overcoming your fear of sleep or of being hypnotized.
While most phobias are curable, there is no single treatment available for all of them, or guaranteed to work. It strongly depends on the person suffering and severity in which that person is experiencing Hypnophobia. There are cases that a combination of treatments might be more effective.
Talking Treatments for Hypnophobia
Talking treatments or talking therapies, which include counselling, might be very effective at treating fear of sleep or of being hypnotized or Hypnophobia. Talking therapies are very laid back treatments and physically non intrusive which involve talking to a highly trained and proficient professional about your thoughts, feelings and behaviour. There are many different types of talking therapy, but they all aim to:
- help you recognise unhelpful patterns in the way you think or act, and find ways to change them (if you want to).
- help you resolve complicated feelings, or find ways to live with them
- help you make sense of things and understand yourself better
- give you a safe time and place to talk to someone who won’t judge you
Talking therapies are in most cases the same as counselling, therapy, psychotherapy, psychological therapy, talking treatment. There is usually a very little difference between what’s meant when talking about any of these.
(CBT) Cognitive behavioural therapy
CBT treatments stand on the concept that what we thing and perceive are constantly influencing our behaviour. Experiencing anxiety and distress are in some cases distorting and bending ones perception over reality. Cognitive behavioural therapy aims to identify if they are an accurate depiction of reality, and, if they are not, employ strategies to challenge and overcome them.
For example when someone is experiencing Hypnophobia. Through the help of Cognitive behavioural therapy you could identify if the fear and anxiety experienced from sleep or of being hypnotized is an accurate depiction of reality. And if not working on ways to change that.
Medication should be never taken without asking a doctor first. In general medication is not recommended for overcoming phobias. Therapies have resulted to be a definitive way to overcome fears. However some types of medication are prescribe as short term solutions to the side effects of phobias. Which include anxiety or depression. There are three general types of medication recommended for treating anxieties.
Self-help with Hypnophobia
One of the best ways to overcome any difficulty or be prepare if any might arise in life, is to take good care of oneself. Being able to know how to help yourself is vital not to just be able to control your fear of sleep or of being hypnotized, but also other phobias and anxieties before they get more severe.