Chronophobia is common in prisoners, the elderly, and people with terminal illnesses. This syndrome is characterized by an extreme and irrational fear of time. Since time is an unavoidable factor like other objects/situations, the patient will face a mental breakdown and a decline in quality of life.
What is time lapse syndrome?
In addition to normal fears, some people may develop an unusual fear of things, objects, and situations that are not really dangerous such as clowns, airplanes, driving cars, cooking, and even animals. time. Feelings of unreasonable fear about the above objects/ situations is known as phobic anxiety disorder or phobia.
Chronophobia is one of the rare phobias. People with this condition have an intense, intense fear of time – especially as time passes. Stopping the flow of time is impossible, so people with Chronophobia will face constant fear, anxiety, insecurity and stress.
The root cause of chronophobia is fear of impending death or fear of rapidly aging oneself. Therefore, this syndrome is common in the elderly and people with incurable diseases such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, etc. Time always exists and passes continuously. Therefore, Chronophobia syndrome seriously affects the life and health of the patient.
Subjects prone to fear of time lapse
The percentage of people with phobias is relatively high, ranging from 7 to 10% of the US population. However, experts have not yet counted the number of people with Chronophobia syndrome. According to surveys, this syndrome is common in the following subjects:
- Elderly: Elderly people are at high risk of time-lapse syndrome. Because the passage of time means that death is near. Old people don’t have much time to experience life. So some people may be overly fearful of watching time pass by every second.
- Suffering from incurable diseases: Currently, medicine is still unable to treat some diseases such as cancer, autoimmune diseases, HIV/AIDS, etc. People with these diseases often don’t have much time to live. Some patients develop a strong, intense fear of time and are always anxious and fearful as time goes on.
- Prisoner: Prisoners are at risk of time-lapse syndrome. Being confined in a secret space makes some people overly obsessed with the flow of time. Many prisoners feel that time is going too fast or too slow and are constantly counting down to the day they are freed. This inadvertently makes them obsessed and irrational fear of time.
- People who have been psychologically traumatized: People who have suffered psychological damage due to negative events such as accidents, natural disasters, etc. may develop phobias about time. In addition, people who are socially isolated during the Covid-19 pandemic may also have this syndrome due to the confinement and secrecy.
- People with mental problems: Unreasonable fear of time is linked to abnormalities in the brain. The amygdala (the organ that creates and controls fear) can become overactive, causing the body to fear irrationally over time. As a result, most people with Chronophobia suffer from depression, panic disorder, or other psychological problems.
Causes of fear of the passage of time
Scientists have not been able to determine the cause of time-lapse syndrome. However, through the high-risk group, experts have determined that this pathology is a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Several factors have been identified that may increase the risk of time-lapse syndrome:
- Ever had a negative experience related to time such as being imprisoned, being held hostage, missing something important because of a few minutes delay, etc.
- Having a terminal illness or an elderly person who is nearing death
- Family or yourself have psychological and mental problems such as emotional disorders, generalized anxiety disorder, anxiety disorders, phobias, etc.
All phobias are characterized by an excessive feeling of fear and obsession about something that is not really dangerous. People with time phobia often have the following fears:
- Feeling scared because you can’t control the flow of time
- Fear of death
- Feeling overwhelmed by time
- Some people are scared because time goes by too slowly
- Many patients are afraid of time because it is an invisible thing that humans cannot control
People with chronophobia always feel anxiety, fear and insecurity before the flow of time. When the clock is heard or someone mentions the time, fear can increase. In this case, the patient will show very obvious symptoms such as:
- Extreme fear
- Dizziness, dizziness
- Nausea, vomiting
- Heart beat fast
- Chest pain
- Sweat a lot
- Cold hands and feet
Constant feeling of stress and fear can cause patients to experience physical problems such as headaches, insomnia, weakness, etc. In addition, time phobia also aggravates existing health problems. There are psychological disorders, mental disorders, autoimmune diseases, allergies.
Effects of time-lapse syndrome
Time is an element that always exists, so avoiding it is impossible. Therefore, people with Chronophobia syndrome will have constant fear and panic. Compared with other phobias, agoraphobia causes more severe consequences.
Chronophobia can increase the risk of alcohol, tobacco and substance abuse. Because patients tend to look to these habits to relieve their emotions and helplessness before the flow of time. However, alcoholism and substance abuse make fear, anxiety, and insecurity worse.
People with time lapse syndrome are almost unable to study or work. Some people even get scared and lock themselves in their rooms. Experts say that the risk of developing depression and generalized anxiety disorder is much higher in people with this syndrome than with other phobias.
Diagnosis of fear of time
Time-lapse syndrome is more difficult to diagnose than the more common phobias. Because time is invisible, the patient will often have anxiety and fear, not just flare up when seeing tangible objects/situations.
For this reason, doctors can misdiagnose other psychological disorders such as depression, generalized anxiety disorder, etc. Most people with these diseases also often experience anxiety, depression, fear. fearful and pessimistic about the future. Diagnosis may become more difficult if the patient has agoraphobia along with other psychological problems.
There is no specific test to diagnose Chronophobia syndrome. Therefore, doctors will rely on clinical manifestations to make a diagnosis. In addition, the doctor may also order some tests to rule out these possibilities.
Methods to treat time phobia
Time phobia is often treated with psychotherapy. Therapeutic interventions can reduce the effects on health as well as quality of life. Besides, early treatment also helps patients regain their spirits and enjoy life even though time is short.
Methods applied in the treatment of time-lapse syndrome:
Psychotherapy is the optimal solution in the treatment of time-lapse syndrome. This method is carried out in the form of communication between the specialist and the patient. Psychotherapy eliminates irrational fears about time and helps patients change the negative thoughts involved.
Psychotherapy used in the treatment of time-lapse syndrome:
- Hypnotherapy: Hypnotherapy helps professionals identify the source of the fear of time. This method is also effective in controlling feelings of fear, avoiding panic and excessive stress. In hypnotherapy, the therapist will also help the person to regulate negative thoughts and be more open to positive thoughts.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most common treatment for time phobia. CBT helps patients correct negative, distorted thoughts about time. At the same time in this therapy, the specialist will also help the patient learn to manage the stress, fear and negative emotions caused by time lapse syndrome.
- Relaxation therapies: As mentioned, time always exists in life. Therefore, people with time phobia will find it difficult to relax and are always in a state of excessive stress and anxiety. Therefore, the specialist will guide the patient to some relaxation solutions such as deep breathing, meditation, etc.
Most people with agoraphobia respond well to psychotherapy. Some people may not be able to completely eliminate fear, but feelings of insecurity and anxiety can be greatly reduced. Those who respond well can overcome irrational fear and regain mental stability.
2. Drug use
There are no medications recommended for the treatment of time-lapse syndrome and other phobias. However, if the patient is very anxious, stressed, and has persistent physical symptoms, the doctor will consider taking some appropriate medication.
Medications that can be used to treat time-lapse syndrome:
- Beta blockers
If the patient suffers from depression, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, etc., the drug is considered the main therapy besides psychotherapy. In addition, taking medicine also helps to lift the spirit and help the patient to receive treatment well.
Prevention of fear of time
There is no method that can completely prevent time-lapse syndrome. However, there are a few things you can do to reduce your risk of getting the disease:
- Actively support mentally ill people and the elderly with psychotherapy. In addition, the family also needs to take care so that the patient and the elderly always feel happy and optimistic even though the life time is not long.
- People experiencing traumatic events should receive psychotherapy to heal the trauma. If left untreated, psychological trauma can lead to a variety of problems, including the fear of time lapse (Chronophobia).
- Training strong, resilient personality is also an effective way to prevent phobias.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle, do not use alcohol, stay away from tobacco and stimulants.
- Learn to share with those around you the problems you face. This will help release healthy emotions instead of keeping them closed, making the spirit heavy and tiring.
- Equip yourself with relaxation and stress reduction skills such as meditation, yoga, journaling, aromatherapy, etc. to learn how to release healthy emotions. Do not improve your mood with a negative lifestyle such as using alcohol and drugs.
Chronophobia is a rather rare psychological syndrome. This syndrome seriously affects the quality of life as well as the physical and mental health of patients. However, patients can completely overcome the fear of time with timely examination and treatment.