Phasmophobia is not the same as the usual fear of ghosts. People with this syndrome often have excessive fear, even fear and panic when thinking about ghosts. Phasmophobia will require treatment if it interferes with daily activities and affects work, study, etc.
What is Phasmophobia?
When it comes to ghosts, the common reaction of people is fear and insecurity. Fear of ghosts is a perfectly normal reaction. In fact, science has not yet explained spiritual problems, so the devil still causes a feeling of fear and insecurity for some people.
However, fear of ghosts only occurs when witnessing strange and inexplicable events. Or when watching horror movies with ghostly images. Meanwhile, people with the syndrome of fear of ghosts (Phasmophobia) will appear intense fear, terror even when only mentioning ghosts, witches, vampires, … in conversations.
Phasmophobia is a type of anxiety disorder (specific phobia). This syndrome is characterized by a terrifying, irrational and excessive fear of ghosts. People with Phasmophobia are always afraid of ghosts, which leads to not being able to stay at home alone, not daring to go out at night, etc.
Phobias can be accompanied by a fear of death or a fear of the dark. Many people confuse this syndrome with a fear of supernatural powers. However, fear is usually only present in certain circumstances and does not have much of an impact on quality of life. In contrast, Phasmophobia interferes with school and career, and at the same time greatly affects physical and mental health.
Signs of fear of ghosts
Fear of ghosts is common among children due to their lack of life experience and lack of awareness about ghosts or spiritual issues. However, there are still many teenagers and adults suffering from Phasmophobia syndrome.
Signs of fear of ghosts:
- There is always a feeling of fear about the devil even though life does not have problems or unusual phenomena
- Thinking that there will be ghosts around, he does not dare to stay at home alone, refuses to go out at night and does not dare to go to unfamiliar places.
- Always turn on the light when sleeping for fear of ghosts appearing in the dark
- Can’t sleep alone and always needs someone to be with at night
- Feeling anxious and insecure because you think that the devil will appear at any time. Many people do not go to the toilet at night for fear of being disturbed by demons
- Frequent insomnia due to stress and constant fear of the appearance of demons
When there are strange events reminiscent of ghosts or viewing images, video clips of ghosts, witches, etc., patients will become extremely scared and terrified. In this situation, the patient will experience the following symptoms:
- Becoming panicky (frightened, fainting or dizzy, choking, angina, feeling detached, etc.)
- Excessive fear and anxiety
- Fast heart beat
- Dry mouth
- Muscle tension
People with fear of ghosts often have chronic insomnia, sleep a lot during the day, etc. In addition, excessive obsession with ghosts can cause nightmares and sleep paralysis.
Causes of fear of ghosts
Like other phobias, phobias are the result of genetic factors and environmental influences. However, the exact cause of this syndrome is still unknown.
Phasmophobia syndrome has not been studied much. Through a number of studies that have been done, experts have found that this syndrome is related to the following factors:
- Genetics: Most people with phobias have a family history of phobias. At present, experts have not been able to determine the genetic mechanism and gene type of this syndrome. However, through some studies, it can be partly confirmed that the risk of this syndrome may be increased when there is a genetic factor.
- Influenced by family: In addition to genetic factors, some children may learn from the reactions of parents and caregivers (not necessarily related by blood). If caregivers are afraid of ghosts appearing, children will develop similar fears and reactions.
- Due to spiritual stories: In the culture of some countries, ghosts are mentioned in many mysterious stories. These stories contribute to the development of an excessive fear of the devil.
- Negative experiences in the past: Having met a “ghost” or witnessing a loved one being “possessed by ghosts” can cause extreme fear and horror about ghosts. In fact, science has not yet been able to prove whether ghosts really exist or not. However, the strange phenomena that occur are still attributed to “haunted” or “disturbed demons”. From past negative experiences, some people develop an excessive fear of ghosts.
- Regularly watch horror movies: Images and footage of ghosts can instill fear of ghosts. In the long run, some people become obsessed and fear the devil may appear at any time.
- The fear of being alone: People with the fear of being alone have a higher risk of developing Phasmophobia. Feelings of fear of being alone can develop into specific phobias such as fear of ghosts, fear of the dark, etc. However, experts are still wondering whether the fear of being alone or the fear of ghosts show before.
Effects of fear of ghosts (Phasmophobia)
Similar to other phobias, phobias do not simply cause feelings of fear and stress, but have a profound impact on quality of life. Ghostly obsessions and fears can dominate emotions and avoidance behaviors. Without treatment, phobias (Phasmophobia) can have serious effects such as:
- Due to an excessive and persistent fear of ghosts, people with Phasmophobia tend to cling to those around them. It is nearly impossible for the patient to sleep alone and always needs a strong side to feel safe.
- Daily activities are limited because they always avoid dark, low-light spaces such as wardrobes, warehouses, etc.
- Frequent insomnia, nightmares, sleep paralysis and in the long run can cause chronic sleep deprivation
- The fear of ghosts (Phasmophobia) also causes reduced work performance and poor learning results due to insomnia, memory loss, poor concentration, etc.
- Increasing prevalence of alcohol, tobacco and drug use
- Development of other psychological problems such as phobia of being alone, phobia of the dark, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, etc.
- Some people lock themselves in their homes for fear of being harassed by demons when they go to unfamiliar places.
In short, the fear of ghosts (Phasmophobia) is not simply a feeling of fear and insecurity before supernatural forces. Without treatment, patients will face severe effects such as reduced quality of life, problems related to physical and mental health.
Diagnosis of fear of ghosts
Fear of ghosts is a normal reaction – especially in young children. However, if the fear is overwhelming, persistent, and interfering with your life, you should see a doctor for a diagnosis. People around may not believe that there is a fear of ghosts (Phasmophobia) but this syndrome is completely real. Therefore, you should actively seek medical attention if you suspect you have the disease.
Phobias are not recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). However, the mechanism of Phasmophobia is similar to that of phobic disorders. Therefore, the doctor can use the diagnostic criteria of this disorder to identify phantomphobia.
After reviewing your symptoms, family and personal history, your doctor will make a final diagnosis. In addition, the doctor will also identify some accompanying psychological problems such as fear of the dark, obsessive-compulsive disorder, fear of being alone, etc.
Methods of treating fear of ghosts
The use of drugs and psychotherapy are two methods considered in the treatment of phobias (Phasmophobia). Most cases will be treated with a combination to bring the best results.
Methods used in the treatment of phobias:
1. Using drugs
The feeling of fear and obsession about ghosts makes patients always stressed, insecure, heart palpitations, nausea, … Therefore, the first choice when treating ghost fear syndrome is to use drugs.
Medicines are usually used short-term to provide quick relief of symptoms. After that, the patient will receive psychotherapy to overcome the unreasonable fear of ghosts. In the case of patients with concomitant psychological and psychiatric disorders, the drug may have to be used for a long time to prevent recurrence.
Medications used in patients with phobias:
- Antidepressants: Antidepressants have a mood-enhancing effect by increasing levels of serotonin, norepinephrine, etc. They are used to reduce sadness and distress caused by phobias.
- Sedatives, anxiolytics: This group of drugs is often used concurrently with antidepressants. The drug has a quick effect and can significantly improve insomnia, anxiety, stress, etc. However, tranquilizers can be addictive, so they should only be used in cases of real need.
- Beta-blockers: People with phantom syndrome have a constant feeling of fear and stress, which can lead to many problems such as headaches, high blood pressure and insomnia. Beta-blockers are used short-term to relieve physical symptoms caused by phobias.
- Brain supplements, vitamins and minerals: Phobias cause excessive and prolonged stress, which can cause nervous breakdown. For this reason, some patients will be prescribed extra vitamins, minerals and brain supplements.
Using drugs is only a temporary solution to the fear of ghosts (Phasmophobia). Once mentally stable, the patient will receive psychotherapy to overcome the fear and learn to control negative emotions.
Psychotherapy helps to deal with irrational fears about ghosts. This therapy can be done alone or in combination with medication to lift the patient’s spirits. In fact, there are many methods of psychotherapy applied, but with phantom syndrome, the specialist will consider the following methods:
- Exposure therapy: Exposure therapy is the preferred method when treating phobias in general and Phasmophobia in particular. This method allows patients to be exposed to fear through images, video clips, etc. to learn how to reassure and deal with fear. The therapist will also instruct the patient to practice relaxation measures, which can reduce or completely eliminate the fear response.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT is effective in treating phobias. Through this therapy, experts will help patients change negative thoughts about ghosts, thereby reducing fear and panic reactions. In addition, CBT was also effective in reducing avoidant behaviors. A dilemma when applying CBT to patients with phobias is to avoid changing the patient’s religious beliefs.
- Coping Skills: Demons are not as tangible as objects, situations, or animals. Therefore, the fear of ghosts will cause permanent fear, not only appearing when exposed like other syndromes. For this reason, patients with Phasmophobia will be equipped with skills to cope with fear such as breathing exercises, distraction, imagining pleasant spaces to calm feelings of fear, etc.
Psychotherapy also helps a lot in controlling the accompanying psychological and psychiatric disorders. The drawback of this method is that it takes a lot of time and requires patience from the patient.
3. Self-improvement measures
In addition to medical methods, patients can also take some self-improvement measures to reduce some of the symptoms of phobias. These measures also help in managing the accompanying health problems.
Self-improvement measures for patients with phobias:
- Meditation: Meditation helps patients calm down, reduce stress, and can correct negative thoughts about ghosts. In addition, regular meditation improves sleep quality and reduces physical problems associated with Phasmophobia.
- Practice yoga: Practicing yoga has been shown to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety caused by phobias. When you practice yoga, your brain releases endorphins that improve your mood and help reduce pain.
- Scientific lifestyle: A scientific lifestyle will help a lot in the treatment process. A healthy lifestyle improves physical fitness, helps relieve stress, and lifts spirits. In addition, maintaining good habits also helps prevent depression, insomnia, etc. caused by fear of ghosts.
- Join support groups: In fact, many people suffer from phobias. Therefore, patients should consider joining these groups for support. Real experiences from people will help patients better understand the health problems they are facing, and learn how to balance emotions and control fears.
Phasmophobia is not just an ordinary fear of ghosts. This syndrome interferes with daily activities, reduces work efficiency and affects the learning process. However, these problems can be prevented with timely examination and treatment.