Dromophobia: features, symptoms, causes and treatment

There are a large number of situations, people, objects or animals that generate irrational fear outside the population. All of these make up a long list of phobias that most people more or less face.

One of these phobias is dromophobia. This strange anxiety disorder prevents people who suffer from it from crossing a street or an urban road, interfering in a very significant way with their daily routine.

    What is dromophobia?

    Like other phobias, dromophobia is considered an anxiety disorder in which the person experiences excessive and irrational terror in crossing the street, And in which the extremely strong anguish he feels every time he has to cross a street prevents him from doing so.

    Although dromophobia is a little-known type of phobia, it can become an extremely disabling disorder, in which people who suffer from it find it very difficult to live in urban areas due to the fear they feel when crossing. the street.

    Fortunately, there are very effective treatments for dromophobia thanks to which the person is able to overcome the phobia and lead a normal life.

      Clinical features

      As mentioned above, dromophobia is considered an anxiety disorder. It is necessary to specify that the central object of the phobia is not the street or its intersections, but the action of crossing the street in itself.

      The main consequence of dromophobia is that the person avoids all those situations or actions in which they have to cross the street, to the point of being confined to his home, Thus interfering with their daily obligations and needs.

      Like many other anxiety disorders, dromophobia is distinguished by a phobic fear, which has the following characteristics:

      • Excessive and disproportionate fear given the real danger of the situation
      • It’s an irrational fear
      • The person is unable to control this fear
      • Generates avoidant behaviors in the situation
      • It’s a constant fear and permanent


      The main symptom of dromophobia is the experience of great anxiety, along with all the symptoms it has associated. This symptomatology does not appear continuously in time, only when the person is facing or knows they are going to face the dreaded action, in this case crossing the street.

      This symptomatology can be classified into three categories, depending on whether it corresponds to physical, cognitive or behavioral symptoms.

      1. Physical symptoms

      In general, any phobia, as well as the experience of exaggerated fear produces a series of changes and alterations at the physical and organic level, due to the acceleration of the activity of the peripheral nervous system. These physical symptoms include:

      • Increased heart rate
      • Increased respiratory rate
      • palpitations
      • Feel short of breath
      • muscle stiffness
      • excessive sweating
      • headache
      • stomach pain
      • Nausea, dizziness and fainting
      • vomiting

      2. Cognitive symptoms

      These physical symptoms are in turn accompanied by a series of distorted and irrational thoughts about the situation (s) in which the person has to cross the street.

      These thoughts are distinguished by containing a high negative charge, in which the person can reach perceive that some sort of accident or disaster may occur at this time, Or crossing the street.

      3. Behavioral symptoms

      As usual with specific phobias, the phobia itself ends interfere with the person’s behavioral patterns. Change their way of proceeding in daily life and generate two types of responses: avoidant behavior and escape routes.

      Avoidant behaviors are behaviors that the person with dromophobia adopts in order to avoid having to perform the behavior, such as not leaving the house. While the exhaust pipes come when you are about to face the dreaded situation, an example would be running through all the streets.

      Causes of dromophobia

      While it is not always possible to detect at first glance or know the causes of a phobia, there are a number of possible causes common to all phobias that encourage and drive them.

      These mechanisms or associated risk factors are:

      • genetic elements
      • personality
      • cognitive styles
      • direct packaging
      • proxy learning


      There are a number of established diagnostic criteria that should be followed when assessing and diagnosing a person with chromophobia.

      • Excessive, persevering and irrational fear that arises from the anticipation of the action or from the confrontation with it, in this case it is materialized by the action of crossing a street or an urban road.
      • The patient admits that the fear he feels is exaggerated and illogical.
      • Exposure to the dreaded action immediately triggers an anxiety or crisis response.
      • The person avoids or avoids the situation.
      • The feeling of anxiety or dread, And the preventive actions associated with it significantly interfere with a person’s daily life or cause clinically relevant discomfort.
      • The duration of symptoms should be at least 6 months.
      • The above symptoms they cannot be explained by another type of mental disorder or illness.


      As discussed at the beginning of the article, despite the deactivation of this specific phobia, there are effective treatments for that the person may end up leading a normal pace and lifestyle.

      In the case of phobias, the type of intervention with the highest success rate is cognitive behavioral therapy, where systematic desensitization (DS) has been shown to be very effective.

      In this systematic desensitization, the patient is exposed in an imaginary way to a series of situations related to the phobia, which are organized gradually, from the lowest to the highest degree of fear. Likewise, relaxation techniques are applied to decrease the level of anxiety.

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