Pain is the body’s way of letting you know that something is wrong. While unpleasant, it’s an incredibly useful tool. Imagine for example, that you were washing the dishes in boiling hot water, only you can’t feel pain. The damage done to your hands due to prolonged exposure to such hot water would be irreparable.
Thankfully, we do feel pain. While it hurts to touch boiling water, you soon move your hands out of danger. Of course, avoiding painful situations is always wise, but for anyone suffering from Agliophobia, they will do everything they can to avoid hurting themselves. This extreme fear of pain can take over a person’s life, impacting each and every aspect.
Derived from the Greek word for pain, Algo, Agliophobia is perhaps one of the most debilitating phobias, which more often than not eventually leads to additional psychological issues. It’s a complicated fear to understand, as we all experience pain differently.
CAUSES OF AGLIOPHOBIA
As with several phobias, the root cause of Agliophobia may be a traumatic experience, frequently – though not always – during childhood. This could be a personal experience, or a witnessed one. Someone who has suffered from extreme and prolonged pain in the past, may grow to fear ever experiencing that level of pain again.
In the same way, if a loved one has suffered, or even died, due to a painful illness, it could soon result in a fear of pain. The idea that the same thing could happen to them is terrifying to some people.
Other fears or psychological conditions can also lead to Agliophobia. For example, the fear of needles can escalate into a general fear of pain. Of course, the same can occur the other way around.
Hypersensitive people feel pain far more acutely than the majority of people, with extreme cases suffering excruciating pain at the slightest touch. It’s only natural to want to avoid pain if there are so many causes of it around you.
SYMPTOMS OF AGLIOPHOBIA
Agliophobes will generally do everything in their power to avoid any situation that could result in pain. This could involve avoiding the outside world altogether in extreme cases, which can lead to agoraphobia and depression. A fear of hospitals, doctors, dentists and needles can also develop, as the sufferer will associate these places with pain.
Panic attacks during any painful experience are also common, with sufferers experiencing an increased heartbeat, shallow breathing, crying, dizziness, nausea and sweating. In more extreme cases, even thinking about pain can result in a panic attack.
Hypochondria may also be a symptom of Agliophobia, with sufferers obsessing over the smallest ailments. They may believe that it could lead to something worse, typically a prolonged and painful illness.
The excessive use of painkillers is another way to determine whether or not someone is suffering from Agliophobia. Strong painkillers will often be taken at the first hint of pain, as a preventative measure. Often, the recommended maximum will be exceeded which could lead to a dangerous overdose.
While you will never be able to rid yourself of pain forever, there are several ways you can overcome your fear of it. Gradual desensitization therapy is among the most popular methods used and has great success. Patients are taught relaxation techniques that can be used to counter panic attacks. They will then slowly be exposed to pain, first as a thought, then with slight pain inflicted upon them. This is all carried out in a controlled environment, with a specialized psychotherapist. Eventually, they will be able to face pain without giving into anxiety.
Cognitive behavioural talk therapy, Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) and Hypnotherapy are alternative methods that are also proven to succeed. They focus on re-learning how you view pain, and replace negative connotations with positive ones. By altering the way you view pain, you will soon find you no longer fear it.
Self-help methods have some degree of merit also. NLP exercises can be carried out at home in an effort to reprogram the negative thoughts associated with pain. Patients can also download hypnotherapy audio files, to help them deal with pain better.
In today’s digital world, there are even apps or audio therapy sessions such as subliminals you can download to help rid you of your phobia.
BENEFITS OF OVERCOMING FEAR OF PAIN
The benefits of overcoming Agliophobia are huge, since there a very few things that aren’t able to cause you pain. Without the fear of pain, your world will no longer be so limited. New opportunities suddenly open up, allowing you to enjoy a range of new situations, experiences and people.
The chances of developing other phobias of psychological issues are also reduced. Living life with less tension and anxiety will lead to many positive changes in your life. The fact that you’re no longer stressing out about pain or getting ill, will inadvertently make you less susceptible to doing so.