Hormephobia: symptoms, causes and treatment

There are as many phobias as there are objects or situations in the world … which makes countless disparate, particular and even “rare” phobias that most of us have never heard of. In this article, we introduce you to one of them: hormorphobia.

It is the phobia of feeling a very strong emotion, agitation, very extreme fear or deep shock, which in turn can be caused by a myriad of factors. So let’s see what this phobia consists of, what are its peculiarities, symptoms, causes and possible treatments to apply.

    Hormephobia: what is it?

    The word hormophobia comes from the Greek terms “ormao”, which means “to excite”, and “phobia”, which means “fear”. So this translates to phobia of different stimuli, such as shock, concussions, feelings, Shocks and fears.

    It is also linked to the fear of strong emotions or anything that can “turn on” us excessively. It is therefore a specific phobia and therefore an anxiety disorder, classified as such in the DSM-5 reference manual (Statistical manual of mental disorders).

    Its origin may be linked to the deepest fear of losing control or collapsing mentally until you lose your temper.

    It is therefore a curious phobia, because it relates to different states of the same “spectrum”. All of them, however, have to do with suffering from some kind of emotionally charged event.

    Phobic object / stimulus

    From this phobia we highlight the peculiarity of its phobic object / stimulus because, as we have seen, it can be quite different in nature (although they all share the fact that they can cause a strong emotion, usually negative) . So, can we fear emotions? As hormophobia demonstrates, and even though it sounds a little odd, yes.

    like that, there are people who would feel a real panic at the possibility of experiencing strong emotionsWhether through a traumatic event, an extreme situation, suffering a concussion, a blow, a fright, a surprise, a shock … the possibilities are endless, so that when treating hormophobia (and as we will see later), it will be of vital importance to correctly specify the phobic object.

    There will be patients who are afraid of “everything” (understand “everything” as any event or object that can cause a strong emotion), and others who are only afraid of shocks, for example, logically, the treatment in each case will be different.

    Relationship with amaxophobia

    Amaxophobia is the phobia of driving; does hormophobia have anything to do with this other phobia? This could be the case, because in both cases there may be the fear of a collision, for example while driving.

    In other words, the two can appear comorbid, although they must be treated independently (given, of course, that they can coexist).


      Like any specific phobia, hormophobia presents a number of differentiated clinical manifestations. Let’s see what they are symptoms of hormophobia.

      1. Intense, irrational and disproportionate fear

      Remember that phobias are characterized mainly by a fear which has three peculiarities: it is intense fear, irrational (usually the patient himself recognizes that his phobia is irrational) and disproportionate (although under “normal” conditions. the phobic stimulus can cause fear, the symptoms it causes exceed those expected by the nature of the stimulus).

      Fear is the body’s altered response to the possibility of harm; fears are frequent and “normal”, and for the most part progressive (they have allowed us to adapt to the environment and to survive). However, when this reaction is disproportionate and irrational and also interferes with our daily life, it is referred to as phobia, as it is with hormophobia.

      2. Psychophysiological symptoms

      Beyond the fear of the possibility of suffering a shock, a strong emotion, a trauma or a fright, in hormophobia appear other associated symptoms, triggered by this intense fear. These symptoms are psychophysiological, i.e. they cover two aspects: the psychological part (the risk) of the person and the physiological part (physical).

      Examples of these symptoms are: nausea, dizziness, shortness of breath, tachycardia, sweating, tension, chest pressure, migraines, panic attacks … In case of hormophobia, all these symptoms are triggered by the possibility of being in contact with the phobic stimulus, i.e. before the possibility of feeling a state of shock, of undergoing strong agitation, etc.

      They can also appear before the mere imagination of any of these situations.

      3. Discomfort and interference

      In order to diagnose a specific phobia, the above symptoms must cause significant discomfort to the patient and / or interference in their daily work, academic, personal, social

        the causes

        The most likely cause of suffering from hormophobia is having suffered from shock or great shock as a result of some life event. Having experienced this situation can lead to a strong fear of experiencing it again., Which ends up causing hormorphobia.

        Thus, the main cause is a traumatic event, as in most phobias. In addition, we must keep in mind that we are dealing with a very particular phobia, because the phobic object of hormophobia itself may already be a traumatic situation, which is not the case with most other phobias (for example being afraid of clowns, costumes, heights …).


        In the psychological field, the treatment of hormophobia is based, as in all specific phobias, on two major therapeutic options: exposure therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy.

        1. Exposure therapy

        In this case, the patient with hormophobia will be gradually exposed to the phobic stimulus, through a hierarchy of elements.

        It is first necessary to identify very well (specify very precisely) what scares the patient; if it is about the possibility of undergoing a blow, agitation, a state of shock … and according to that, to develop the hierarchy. In the first elements, they will have to place the elements that cause little anxiety, To gradually incorporate more and more intense elements into the scale.

        2. Cognitive-behavioral therapy

        In the case of cognitive behavioral therapy, its purpose is to replace the negative, irrational and catastrophic thoughts associated with the phobic stimulus, For example: “I will lose control”, “I will hurt myself”, “I will be fatal”, “I will go mad”, “I will not know how to react”, etc. for more functional, adaptive and realistic models.

        These other thoughts can be, for example: “I don’t have to suffer from agitation if I go out”, “if I get hurt, they can help me”, “I don’t have to lose control”, “I don’t ‘have to be agitated’, etc.

        Bibliographical references:

        • American Psychiatric Association -APA- (2014). DSM-5. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Madrid: Panamericana.
        • Pérez, M., Fernández, JR, Fernández, C. and Amic, I. (2010). Guide to effective psychological treatments I and II :. Madrid: Pyramid.

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