Fear of the wind (anemophobia): symptoms, causes and treatment

The vast majority of people have enjoyed sunny days, with a pleasant temperature, and studies seem to indicate that this climate promotes well-being. On the other hand, gray and rainy days can cause negative moods. In fact, it can lead to certain psychological phenomena such as Seasonal Depressive Disorder, which we discuss in our article: “Seasonal Depressive Disorder: What It Is and How To Prevent It”.

But climatic conditions not only affect people’s well-being in this regard, but a well-known phobia called anemophobia or ancrophobia causes a strong irrational fear of wind and drafts.

In this article, we will deepen this pathology and review its symptoms, causes and consequences.

    What is the phobia of the wind

    Phobias are mental disorders that develop with a certain frequency. They belong to the group of anxiety disorders because their main symptoms are anxiety and irrational fear. People who suffer from a phobia tend to avoid the dreaded stimulus in an attempt to reduce the unpleasant symptoms. Phobias can be categorized in different ways as we explained in our article: “Types of Phobias: Exploring Fear Disorders”.

    Anemophobia is the irrational fear that some people experience when they present themselves to the phobic stimulus, in this case: the wind. If this phobia is left untreated, it can drastically affect the phobic’s quality of life. In fact, it can seriously interfere with the normal activities of your daily life, as the affected person can be confined to their home to avoid the street wind. Many times these individuals irrationally anticipate the catastrophic consequences of this climatic event, for example, that trees can fall due to strong gusts, causing problems for the physical integrity of the person.

    The phobia of wind does not only affect the person when going out, because having windows open, which would cause drafts, can cause intense anxiety, nausea, headache, catastrophic thoughts, speeding up of dust and a feeling of suffocation in the phobic.

    Causes of anemophobia

    No one is born with a phobic disorder, so these irrational fears are learned. Anemophobia usually occurs after a traumatic experience, which is not always remembered consciously. This learning involves the association of an originally neutral stimulus with a stimulus that elicits the fear response. For example, a person may have had an emotionally negative experience on a windy day, which affected them so much that in the following windy days, they may remember this traumatic experience. This type of learning is called classical conditioning. If you want to know more, you can read our article: “Classical conditioning and its most important experiences”.

    Usually, many people who experience this type of situation know that their fear is irrational, but they cannot get over it. This is because humans are biologically programmed to feel this negative emotion, which is produced by primary associations in the primitive brain and not by cognitive associations. Logical arguments in such situations carry little weight.

    On the other hand, people can also develop phobias by proxy conditioning, that is, by observing other people. For example, suffering from a traumatic event related to the wind.

      Symptoms of this phobia

      Each person experiences the fear of the wind in their own way; however, symptoms are generally general in any type of phobia. The only thing that changes is the phobic stimulus that produces it.

      Symptoms of phobias are generally divided into three groups: cognitive, physical and behavioral. Cognitive symptoms are the experience of fear, anxiety, anxiety, lack of concentration, catastrophic thoughts, and death. Physical symptoms include dry mouth, nausea, or difficulty breathing. In terms of behavioral symptoms, we can emphasize the avoidance of the dreaded stimulus.

      treatment

      Anxiety disorders, including phobias, are one of the main reasons for seeing psychological clinics.. These conditions can cause great suffering, but they are treatable.

      There are many effective therapeutic methods, such as mindfulness or acceptance and commitment therapy. However, cognitive behavioral therapy is the most commonly used. In cognitive-behavioral techniques, we can find relaxation techniques and exposure techniques.

      In the treatment of phobias, a technique is applied which has proven to be very effective. It is a systematic desensitization. It consists of gradually exposing the patient to the phobic stimulus, but before that he must have learned a series of coping strategies., Which include the relaxation techniques mentioned above.

      Thanks to this technique, the prognosis of phobic disorders is positive and useful for different phobias.

      Phobias and new technologies

      Today, with the advance of new technologies, it is not necessary to expose the patient to a real phobic stimulus, but it is possible to use virtual reality. Psychologists use these technologies and the results are excellent.

      Outraged, in recent times, patients can carry therapeutic tools in their own pocket through the use of smartphone apps. These applications contain, for example, virtual reality, augmented reality, useful information on phobias and roadmaps.

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