Dinophobia: symptoms, causes and treatment

Phobias considered rare are those phobias that are rare, or that we have never heard of … Maybe this happens to you with dinophobia, Which consists of the phobia with the feeling of vertigo and / or lightheadedness (it should not however be confused with the phobia in height).

In this article, we’ll take a look at exactly what this phobia is, along with its associated symptoms, some of its possible causes, and the treatments that can be applied.

    Dinophobia: what is it?

    Dinophobia is the phobia of vertigo and / or lightheadedness. This phobia should not be confused with the fear of heights (acrophobia), because in dinophobia the phobic object is vertigo, not heights (which would be one of the causes of vertigo).

    It is therefore a specific phobia (a type of anxiety disorder), listed as such in the current DSM-5 (Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders).

    So, in dinophobia there is a disproportionate, intense and irrational fear of feeling light-headed or light-headed. What is also feared are the sensations associated with this physiological state; for example feeling that the body is moving on one side and the head on the other, feeling short of breath, feeling that everything around you is moving / staggering, losing your balance, lack of stability …

    Dinophobia, in fact, is a rare phobia; that is, it is a rare phobia. It is much more common, for example, acrophobia (phobia of height).


    Vertigo consists of an objective sensation of movement, of rotation of the environment or of oneself. It is also linked to a feeling of “rushing into the void” (although this does not really exist). The feeling of vertigo does not only appear when we are at height, but it can also appear in panic disorder, for example.

    This altered psychophysiological state is linked to an alteration of the vestibular system (Related to balance, posture and spatial control), and found in the ear. Additionally, the feeling of dizziness is very unpleasant and can cause intense fear, so it makes sense that this feeling could end up causing a phobia such as dinophobia.

    On the other hand, dizziness may be accompanied by other symptoms, such as a feeling of impending fainting, loss of balance and / or nausea.

    How long can the feeling of dizziness last? It depends on its trigger, its etiology … but generally from a few minutes to a few days. Dizziness can affect anyone (however, this should be differentiated from dinophobia itself), although the most common age of onset is between 40-50 years and from 70 years of age.

    Relationship with other phobias

    As a curious fact, dinophobia has been linked to other types of phobia, in this case phobias of more abstract objects, Such as eternity or infinity (apeirophobia).

    An evolving sense …?

    Like many other phobias, dinophobia it could also have, etiologically, an evolutionary significance. In other words, our ancestors may have feared this feeling of dizziness by connecting it to possible damage or traumatic events.

    As a result, we may have “inherited” this type of phobia to some extent. The same goes for more biological phobias, such as height phobia (acrophobia), snakes (ophidophobia), spiders (arachnophobia), etc.


    The symptoms associated with dinophobia are as follows.

    1. For intense dizziness

    The main symptom of dinophobia, like that of any specific phobia, is an intense, irrational, and disproportionate fear of a specific phobic object (in this case, dizziness and / or lightheadedness). This fear can trigger stimuli that remind you of that feeling of dizziness., Or simply appear without a trigger stimulus.

    2. Physiological symptoms

    Remember that specific phobias are anxiety disorders. All involve physiological symptoms such as: dizziness, vertigo, shortness of breath, tachycardia, sweating, tremors …

    In the case of dinophobia, these are the same symptoms (causally one of them is the dizziness / vertigo itself).

    3. Interference

    In order to diagnose a phobia as such, the symptoms must interfere with the person’s daily life.a. While it is true that there are certain phobias that do not interfere with daily functioning, as the phobic stimulus is not found in everyday life (think, for example, of snakes, living in the city .. .). So, the same can happen with dinophobia (although, remember, a trigger stimulus is not always necessary for the symptoms of dinophobia to manifest).

    4. Discomfort

    Another important symptom of dinophobia is the discomfort that the phobia itself causes, as the person may be limited in their daily life, by this constant fear of dizziness.

      the causes

      Phobias can have many causes, however the most common cause is a traumatic event. In the case of dinophobia, the person may have experienced a traumatic situation related to these bodily sensations (dizziness or vertigo), as well as bridges, now, airplanes …

      So, going through a situation of this nature (with a strong emotional charge associated with it) may be enough to develop dinophobia. This also includes cases where this situation is not directly experienced, but is heard, seen in other people (vicarious conditioning), etc.

      Additionally, once symptoms of dinophobia are felt, the following are common: a terrible fear of feeling these symptoms again, which turns the disorder into a vicious cycle difficult to exit without treatment.


      The treatment of dinophobia, at the psychological level, includes two major options: exposure therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy (They can be used together, although exposure therapy usually already includes cognitive-behavioral techniques).

      Remember that exposure therapy is the most effective treatment for specific phobias, as several studies have shown. Cognitive behavioral therapy also offers very good results.

      For its part, exposure therapy includes exposure to the phobic stimulus, gradually (through a hierarchy of items). The goal is that the patient “overcomes” increasingly difficult elements until he manages to cope with the phobic situation without having to escape it.

      To do this, the patient is often trained in coping strategies that he can use when experiencing high levels of anxiety, such as breathing, relaxation or positive images. On the other hand, cognitive behavioral therapy essentially involves cognitive restructuring, which aims to “restructure” the patient’s catastrophic thoughts about vertigo and its associated symptoms, in order to replace them with more functional, realistic and adaptive ones. .

      In other words, with phobias often appear cognitive distortions and irrational thoughts which must be combated; this is also the case with dinophobia. This is why the cognitive-behavioral therapy has for mission to offer to the patient tools allowing him to detect these thoughts, to modify them later.

      Bibliographical references:

      • American Psychiatric Association -APA- (2014). DSM-5. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Madrid: Panamericana.
      • Horse (2002). Manual for the cognitive-behavioral treatment of psychological disorders. Flight. 1 and 2. Madrid. 21st century (chapters 1-8, 16-18).
      • Derebery, MJ (2000). Diagnosis and treatment of vertigo. Cuban Journal of Medicine, 39 (4): 238-53.
      • López, A. (2005). Specific phobias. Faculty of Psychology. Department of Personality, Psychological Assessment and Treatment.

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