A football player steps onto the field knowing that there is every potential in the world that they could be hurt. Some will exercise caution in giving or taking big hits while others seem to thrive on the potential of pain. For the traumatophobe there would be no football, no sports at all, no race car driving, no bicycle ride. They may not even attend a sports event if there is the potential that they could be hurt.
Traumatophobia causes otherwise rational individuals to go into hyper avoidance mode if there is even a slight chance of injury. they may refuse to ride in cars and may even avoid leaving their home. This fear can be paralyzing in that the mind cannot stop thinking of the ways in which the individual could be hurt.
What Causes Traumatophobia?
The easiest answer would be that the fear is directly linked to a personal experience with trauma that makes it virtually impossible to believe safety is achievable. While this presents itself in instances like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) it is not the only cause.
Obsession can be at the root of the fear. The mind actively considers the potential of injury to the point that the body can no longer accept that it is truly safe anywhere.
Fear is often a learned behavior so it is also possible that someone you know or once knew had a profound fear of being injured. Their response to life made it very difficult for you to view reality in any way other than the fear they expressed.
The prevailing symptom with this fear is one that is shared with many other phobias and that is debilitating social issues. Because other individuals do not see your response as normal they may avoid an encounter with you or they might even make fun of you. While this does nothing to bolster personal confidence is can be something that causes you to consider if there are other ways to deal with the fear.
Other symptoms include…
- Air hunger
- Elevated heart rates
- Feeling faint
- Panic attacks
This individual may almost feel a sense of self-hatred, but feel at a complete loss to understand how to change it. They may want to engage in life, but feel as if the fear is a chain that prevents them from doing so.
How to Overcome the Fear of Injury
Traumatophobia may not be something you can simply get over like a cold or a paper cut. There is something misunderstood deep inside that prevents an individual from being able to see some injury as common to life’s experience and that a reasonable sense of risk is needed to simply enjoy life.
A therapist can provide the tools needed to deal with the fear and then relearn how to respond to the fear. As with most fears Traumatophobia is often linked to a lie that is accepted as truth sometime in the past that makes it difficult to accept the actual truth in the present. What that means is that a therapist may need to work with you to find that place where you accepted an incorrect statement as fact and then work to retrain your mind and actions to deal with the truth.
The fear of injury is also referred to as:
- Injury fear