No More Drama: Learn to cope with unusual anxieties
Most of us can identify with nomophobia — the fear of being without technology — and Venustraphobia — the fear of beautiful women — at least to some extent. I have patients who complain that they panic without cell phone service or are frightened by gorgeous people. So, it is all very normal to feel these things. In the world of labeling our behaviors and feelings though, we have names for almost everything.
Nomophobia is derived from the words “no mobile” and came from a 2008 British study where approximately half of all participants reported feeling some form of stress or anxiety in the absence of mobile phone use. This is consistent with what I see with some of my patients as well. The symptoms include checking your phone frequently for messages, feeling anxious without it, using the phone in inappropriate places (such as a house of worship) and feeling “naked” without it. Nomophobia is one of those technology-derived disorders and a reflection of our 24/7 news cycle, in which people feel they have to be connected and accessible at all times. Fifteen years ago, this problem hardly existed. Here’s how to combat nomophobia:
Monitor your use. Know when your use is heaviest. Is it at night when you’re lonely? Or is it when you are bored? Address the underlying issues.
Carve out acceptable times to check or use your telephone. Some ideas might be: on your lunch break, before work or only for really important calls during the workday.
To ensure that you don’t lose access, take precautions like charging the phone prior to leaving home.
Venustraphobia is the fear of beautiful women. As with most phobic responses, the person will experience classic symptoms if faced with beautiful women, or even merely thinking about them. Shortness of breath, nausea, dry mouth, perspiring and an inability to think or speak clearly are all typical. A common adaptive response is to avoid beautiful women at all costs.
The ramifications could be missing work, not developing romantic or even platonic relationships and depression. The treatment: Address the underlying beliefs and test out how true or false they are. For example, people with Venustra-phobia might think, “She’ll reject me.” Ask yourself: How do you know if she’ll reject you?
– Jonathan Alpert is a licensed psychotherapist. His book, “Be Fearless: Change Your Life in 28 Days,” is available now. E-mail him your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
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