Always feeling afraid and constantly avoiding trains is a characteristic symptom of train fear syndrome – Siderodromophobia. This syndrome makes the patient always live in fear and immersed in negative emotions.
What is siderodromophobia?
Siderodromophobia or phobia of trains/rails is a form of phobic anxiety disorder (also known as phobia). This syndrome is characterized by an extreme, intense, and irrational fear of trains.
Trains are a popular means of transport besides cars, planes and motorbikes. Basically, this vehicle brings a lot of benefits to people and the accident rate is also lower than other means of transport. Therefore, fear of trains is seen as irrational, abnormal and requires treatment.
Siderodromophobia seriously affects quality of life – especially when trains are a popular means of transport. This syndrome can occur independently or can also co-occur with other phobias such as agoraphobia, agoraphobia, social phobia, and agoraphobia.
Siderodromophobia, along with some phobias, is not recognized in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). However, this does not mean that there is no need for treatment for train phobia. Although not recognized, this syndrome can still be treated if it causes serious effects on life.
What are the symptoms of train phobia?
The symptoms of phobias and anxiety disorders are similar. Train phobia is also characterized by an intense, irrational fear of trains and a fear that will last for at least 6 months. In addition, fear will also dominate behavior and emotions, causing a marked decrease in health and quality of life.
Common symptoms in people with train phobia:
- Excessive fear of hearing the sound of a train or seeing a train. Even the thought of taking a train or seeing a train in books, video clips, etc. also makes patients feel scared and insecure.
- Always try to avoid situations or conversations that mention trains. Patients often choose to take other means of transportation, while avoiding living and working near train tracks.
- Frequently avoid routes close to railways for fear of encountering trains or hearing sounds from them.
- Upon seeing the train, the patient became scared and panicked. In addition to increased feelings of fear, the patient also experiences physical symptoms such as shortness of breath, heart palpitations, angina, sweating, hot flashes, etc.
- In case of excessive fear, you can faint at the sight of a train.
What Causes Train Fear Syndrome?
The exact cause of the fear of trains (Siderodromophobia) is still unknown. However, scientists have found a role for genetics and environmental influences in the pathogenesis.
Identified factors that can cause a fear of trains (Siderodromophobia) include:
- Genetic: If there is a close family member with Siderodromophobia, the risk of developing train phobia is significantly increased. According to experts, fear is the result of evolution and will change genes over time. Therefore, children can inherit genes from their parents and grandparents.
- Past events: Having been in a train accident or witnessing the death of a loved one from a railroad accident can be the cause of train phobia. This is considered a natural mechanism of the amygdala – the organ that controls emotions inside the brain
- Information from the press: Continuously receiving information about railway accidents will cause many people to become anxious and insecure when traveling by train. If it occurs during a time of stress, some people can develop a fear of railroad tracks.
- Having mental and emotional problems: People with anxiety disorders and depression are at a higher risk of siderodromophobia than the general population. This is because all of these diseases cause the amygdala to be overactive. The result is a fear of an object/situation that isn’t really dangerous – in this case, a train.
Is Siderodromophobia dangerous?
All psychological problems have a significant impact on health and quality of life. In particular, the fear of trains (Siderodromophobia) also causes similar effects.
Avoiding moving trains will cause some discomfort for patients. However, basically, patients can still choose alternative means of transportation such as airplanes, cars and motorbikes. Therefore, the effects of this syndrome are assessed as not as severe as agoraphobia, agoraphobia, agoraphobia, and social anxiety.
However, the patient can become panic, afraid and lose control when listening to the sound of trains on television. The outbreak of acute fear in public places makes it easy for patients to develop low self-esteem, guilt, low self-esteem, and always feel miserable before their own irrational fear.
Most patients with phobias in general and train phobia in particular have increased rates of panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and depression. cold. In addition, because of the repressed emotions of fear and stress, patients are more likely to turn to drugs, alcohol, and tobacco.
To prevent the consequences of train phobia, it is best to see a doctor as soon as any unusual signs are detected. If the patient does not actively seek to see a doctor, those around should encourage the patient so that the patient can be diagnosed and treated promptly. The earlier the therapeutic intervention, the better the response and the more favorable prognosis compared to those with late examination.
Treatment of the fear of trains (Siderodromophobia)
While not yet recognized in the DSM-5, trainphobia does have a treatment. In addition to medical interventions, self-improvement and self-care measures are also of great help in dealing with this syndrome.
Treatments for train phobia include:
Medical interventions will help patients with train phobia to overcome their irrational fear and improve their quality of life as well as their physical and mental health. For this syndrome, the main treatment is psychotherapy.
Considered treatments for patients with Siderodromophobia:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT is done to change negative thoughts about trains. Besides, this therapy also helps patients to properly perceive the benefits of trains. From there, it is possible to reduce the fear of seeing or hearing the sound of this traffic.
- Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR): Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is part of a treatment plan for train anxiety. This method is carried out over 8 weeks with the aim of helping patients reduce anxiety, fear, distress and stress caused by Siderodromophobia. MBSR includes many relaxation techniques, of which meditation and exercise therapy are the two main techniques.
- Exposure therapy: Exposure therapy is a common treatment for train phobia. The therapist will expose the patient to increasing levels of fear. When the patient has an outbreak of fear, the therapist will guide the patient to learn how to stay calm and control the fear and accompanying negative emotions. This therapy is highly effective, but the limitation is that it requires a specialist with extensive experience and expertise.
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): In this therapy, the specialist will focus on teaching the patient skills to handle difficult life situations. DBT is commonly used in the treatment of borderline personality disorder and is also effective for train phobia. The treatment time with this method is quite long (about 6 months) but the results are very positive.
The drug is rarely used when treating train anxiety. However, if the patient is constantly panicking and worrying excessively, the doctor may consider taking some medications such as tranquilizers, antidepressants, etc.
In essence, train phobia has the same mechanism as other phobias. Therefore, these methods are also applied when treating common psychological problems.
3. Self-improvement measures
Self-improvement measures are part of a treatment plan for Siderodromophobia. These measures will help patients stabilize their spirits, improve their physical health, and reduce negative emotions.
Patients diagnosed with train phobia can consider a number of self-improvement measures such as:
- Exercise daily to relieve stress and reduce physical symptoms related to fear and stress such as muscle tension, headaches, drowsiness, vestibular disorders, etc. Endorphins are produced during exercise. Exercise also helps patients reduce their sensitivity to seeing trains and tracks.
- Limit factors that increase stress and anxiety such as stress at work, staying up late, using alcohol, tobacco and drugs. If caffeine is regularly used to counteract the sedative-induced drowsiness, the patient should use tea instead of coffee. At the same time should only drink in the morning and noon, avoid taking in the afternoon and late at night.
- Increase stress-relieving foods like green vegetables, fatty fish, nuts, beans, yogurt, fruit, mushrooms, and white meat. Train phobia can cause patients to feel anorexia. However, you should try to eat 3 full meals to support both body and mind, avoiding excessive weakness of the body.
- You should write down negative thoughts yourself to be able to release emotions. Also, if you feel ready, share with family and friends.
- Consider participating in meaningful activities such as taking care of lonely elderly people, helping disadvantaged people, collecting waste, planting trees, etc. to find joy in life. These activities also help patients open up more and limit isolation and self-isolation.
The syndrome of fear of trains (Siderodromophobia) has the same pathogenesis, manifestations and treatment as common phobic anxiety disorders. Therefore, if you suspect you have this syndrome, do not hesitate to see your doctor for diagnosis and treatment advice.