Pediophobia refers to a fear of inanimate objects that resemble humans or a fear of anything that mimics a real person. This condition can cause some troubles in life, even affect mental health, so it needs to be treated promptly and properly.
What is fear of dolls?
Pediophobia is a specific form of phobia that refers to an unwarranted, irrational, and persistent extreme fear or anxiety about dolls. Thinking about or seeing a doll can cause severe symptoms of stress and anxiety for a person with Pediophobia, even if they know that the fear is irrational.
Pediophobia is a form of phobia of all objects that resemble humans (may not be exactly the same). Including ventriloquists, wax figures, humanoid robots, mannequins, etc.
Some people with Pediophobia fear all kinds of “dolls”. Meanwhile, others are known to only fear specific types such as stuffed dolls, talking/walking dolls, Chinese porcelain dolls, etc.
In fact, dolls are a very familiar toy for children. Especially girls often love dolls and spend a lot of time playing with them. This can help nurture imagination as well as creativity.
However, parents need to pay special attention if their young daughter starts screaming when she sees the doll. Although most childhood phobias go away as children get older, in some cases this phobia can persist into adulthood.
What caused the fear of dolls?
Like any other specific phobia, Pediophobia can also be triggered by a negative or traumatic event in the past or in a person’s childhood. Dolly. Then the mind will forever associate the dolls with hurt. Also remember the negative feelings you have experienced.
Other causes of Pediophobia are often experiences that indirectly stimulate and arouse fear. This can include horror movies in which dolls are depicted in a very negative, harmful, or scary way. Halloween can also bring intense fear.
In terms of spiritual factors, dolls have been used to create scary “curses” on others. Therefore for a person (even without direct experience) dolls can still represent evil, ghosts and obsessions. In addition, several other factors such as genetics and environment also play a part in the development of Pediophobia.
Signs of fear of dolls
Specific phobia occurs when a person has an extreme and persistent fear of a certain object. Often, the person will do their best to avoid the object of their obsession. This is said to be a fairly effective coping strategy in the short term.
Although people with phobias may perceive that there is no real danger or threat from the subject, they are still powerless to suppress their excessive and irrational fear. To others, fear and a sense of danger look very irrational. However, for someone experiencing phobia, this is very real.
In the case of Pediophobia, the object of fear is the doll. This may include humanoid dolls or stuffed toys. Like most specific phobias, dollphobia can cause a wide range of mental and physical symptoms. Consists of:
- Rapid breathing or increased heart rate
- Sweating, hot flashes or chills
- Short of breath
- Trembling body, arms and legs
- Chest pain
- Choking feelings
- Stomach upset, nausea or vomiting
- Feeling dizzy, even fainting
- The feeling of extreme fear
If your child is experiencing any of the above symptoms when “encountering” dolls, it could be due to Pediophobia. At this time, you should monitor more and actively take your child to the doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential to limit problems.
Diagnosis of fear of dolls
To diagnose Pediophobia, a doctor or mental health professional will need to perform a physical exam with the person. Your doctor will usually ask a few questions about your symptoms and medical history or ask you to fill out a questionnaire.
Your doctor will likely follow diagnostic guidelines published by the American Psychiatric Association, known as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) of mental health conditions. , including specific phobias (including dollphobia).
A diagnosis of Pediophobia is usually established when a mental health professional confirms the following:
- Specific phobias about dolls always cause immediate fear and anxiety
- Deliberately avoiding contact with dolls, if unavoidable, will cause intense fear and anxiety
- Fear and anxiety about dolls disproportionate to immediate danger or threat
- Fear, anxiety, and avoidance tend to be frequent and consistent over time
- Fear has a significant impact on quality of life
In addition, your doctor may want to rule out certain other underlying medical conditions that may be involved in the development of phobias. Such as panic disorder, personality disorder, schizophrenia, or obsessive-compulsive disorder.
How to treat fear of dolls
To date, there are no researched treatments specifically for the fear of dolls (Pediophobia). However, psychotherapy or a combination of therapy and medication has been shown to be most effective in treating specific phobias, including Pediophobia.
Psychotherapy is always the preferred option when treating specific phobias. Particularly for the fear of dolls, psychologists will base on the severity of the disease along with many other related factors to provide appropriate treatment. May include:
Exposure therapy (systemic desensitization) is the most common treatment for dollphobia. This therapy involves gradually exposing the person with Pediophobia to dolls. In addition, psychologists teach patients different techniques for dealing with anxiety. Breathing and relaxation exercises are often preferred.
Exposure therapy usually starts with low to high levels. The expert will first show you pictures of the doll and practice relaxation techniques. You can then watch a short video of the doll, along with breathing and relaxation exercises. Finally, you can share a room with a psychologist and a real doll.
Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT):
DBT is an effective treatment for people struggling with emotional change. It is often used to treat borderline personality disorder. However, this therapy has also been shown to be beneficial for people with a fear of dolls.
Dialectical behavior therapy can be applied in a variety of ways. For example, equipping skills in a DBT group lasts about 6 months, there can be 2 or more people. In addition, the technique of “half-smiling”, mindfulness meditation, pre-planning, etc. are also widely used in DBT.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT):
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a psychological intervention that greatly improves mental health. CBT is commonly used for people with anxiety disorders. Additionally, people with Pediophobia may also benefit from CBT.
CBT có thể giúp người bệnh bình tĩnh hơn và phân tích nỗi sợ hãi sâu hơn. Ngoài ra, thông qua CBT, chuyên gia tâm lý còn giúp người bệnh học được nhiều kỹ năng khác nhau nhằm giúp làm giảm bớt sự lo lắng có liên quan đến hội chứng sợ búp bê.
Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR):
MBSR is an 8-week structured program that provides intensive mindfulness training to help people who are experiencing stress, anxiety, depression, or other types of mental distress. MBSR can be of great help to a person with Pediophobia. It helps relieve the intense anxiety associated with this phobia.
2. Drug use
In some cases, the doctor may ask the patient to take additional medication along with psychological treatment. Medicines can help relieve stress, anxiety, and other mental symptoms associated with fear of dolls. Moreover, it also helps the treatment process go more smoothly.
Some medications that may be prescribed by a doctor for dollphobia include:
- Antidepressants: In addition to being used for depression, antidepressants also help people with Pediophobia. Paxil, Zoloft, and Lexapro are the most commonly used antidepressants. These medications are taken daily to help prevent panic attacks from occurring. It also helps reduce the patient’s anxiety.
- Anti-anxiety medications: This class of drugs is especially helpful in preventing panic attacks. Anti-anxiety medications may be given to people with severe dollphobia. Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin are the most commonly used anti-anxiety medications. However, they are only used in moderation and are not usually used on a daily basis.
3. Other support solutions
In addition to psychotherapy combined with drugs, patients can apply a number of other supportive solutions to promote the process of controlling fear. It also provides many benefits for both mental and physical health.
The solutions mentioned include:
– Mindfulness meditation:
Mindfulness meditation is a form of meditation that has been shown to help a person enter a calmer state. This can be of considerable benefit to the person suffering from Pediophobia. During meditation, focusing on your breath can distract yourself from your fear. In addition to focusing on your breath, you can also focus on ambient sounds, scents, or the sensations of your skin when you touch certain objects.
There are many different yoga poses that have the potential to be of significant benefit to someone with a fear of dolls. Yoga can be thought of as a form of meditation in motion. It will help alleviate some of the anxiety associated with Pediophobia. Because when participating in yoga, your attention will be diverted to something more effective.
Exercise has many benefits for people who are experiencing psychological problems, including agoraphobia. Psychologists say that physical activity has the ability to help regulate the mind. This helps a person better cope with stressful situations. Participating in forms of aerobic exercise is recommended because they help promote the release of brain chemicals such as endorphins, which bring about feelings of relaxation, comfort and happiness.
Consuming large amounts of caffeine throughout the day can increase anxiety and stress levels. Basically, your body will go into a psychological state known as “fight or flight”. This state of mind is often a warning sign that a person with a phobia is experiencing panic attacks. Therefore, people with Pediophobia are advised to consume little or no caffeine throughout the day.
Pediophobia is a very uncomfortable disorder, especially for young children because they may come into contact with dolls often while playing. This fear can negatively affect mental health and quality of life. Therefore, it is necessary to find a psychologist as soon as possible for timely and proper treatment intervention.