Algophobia: Diagnosis, Treatment, Prognosis

Topics: Phobia, Fear, Phobias Pages: 6 (1981 words) Published: July 10, 2011
Pain is considered as the 5th vital sign. It is an important factor that affects the well being of a person. The Merriam-Webster Medical Dictionary defines pain as: a) a localized physical suffering associated with bodily disorder and b) acute mental and emotional distress. Pain is an unwanted sensation by anyone, though pain is an important indicator that there is something wrong somewhere in your body. Defining a phobia:

A phobia is a strong, persistent fear of situations, objects, activities, or persons. The main symptom of this disorder is the excessive, unreasonable desire to avoid the feared object or situation. Phobias are believed to be developed by heredity; genetics and brain-chemistry combined with life-experiences. Algophobia is the fear of pain. Any phobia is an anxiety related disorder and to the sufferer, the fear is extremely real. Even when a person who suffers from algophobia tries to reason with himself that his fear is irrational or not based on any prior experience it still can overcome his life. Algophobia is a self-destructive or cycling phobia. A person suffering from algophobia will feel psychological pain from the phobia or fear, which again triggers the phobia and causes more pain, and so on in a destructive cycle. The fear is excessive, beyond that which is expected under the circumstances, producing an anxiety reaction.

Etymology (origin)
When we trace ‘Algophobia’ to its origin we find that it is from Ancient Greek ἄλγος (algos) meaning “pain” + -phobos meaning “fear”. Definition of Algophobia:

It is an anxiety disorder where the sufferer is fearful of experiencing pain or seeing others experiencing it. Causes
It is generally accepted that phobias arise from a combination of external events (i.e. traumatic events) and internal predispositions (i.e. heredity or genetics). Many specific phobias can be traced back to a specific triggering event, usually a traumatic experience at an early age. Social phobias and agoraphobia have more complex causes that are not entirely known at this time. Algophobia is usually caused by an intense negative experience from your past. But our mind can also create that fear seemingly without basis. Sometimes algophobia comes from past emotional conflicts that are unresolved. The individual might have suffered from severe pain that had traumatized him. Feeling of pain everyday can cause algophobia. Sensitivity may also lead to algophobia, depending on the psychological makeup of the person, but sensitivity to pain could be on biological instead of on psychological grounds. The key is digging down to the source and replacing negative associations with positive ones. Those at greater risk include: 1. People with a general tendency towards fear and anxiety, 2. People characterized as ‘high strung’ and

3. People suffering from adrenal insufficiency

General Symptoms:
The fear grows to where the person will experience intense:
1. Irrational fear of pain,
2. Feelings of panic, anxiety,
3. Trembling,
4. Dread,
5. Anger and
6. Terror

These feelings manifest as dizziness, nausea, excessive sweating, dry mouth, increased and irregular heart rate and a feeling that they cannot breathe and thus extreme avoidance measures are taken. Because of how strong their fear of pain is, the algophobic may avoid situations and cause themselves to experience more anxiety and may be even slip into depression. As already mentioned, an algophobic has a severe and persistent fear of pain. The person will often be afraid of losing control and feels strongly that they cannot handle any physical pain. Sometimes they may also have an intense fear of getting hurt. The anxiety that builds in response to their fear of pain causes symptoms to develop.

There is no diagnostic laboratory test for phobias. Diagnosis is based on the patient's account of their...
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