The intense fury of volcanoes has provided legend status to fear among many generations and throughout the world. It is fascinating that the wonder of volcanoes can assist in creating a place as beautiful as Hawaii and yet obliterate entire cities when an eruption takes place. If we are to follow the traditional means of naming fears we would have to call this fear Ifestíophobia. This naming strategy involves taking the Greek word for fear (Ifestío) and combining it with the designation phobia. Whatever you’d like to call it there is a persistent and complex fear surrounding the molten display of fire, lava and ash.
What Causes Ifestíophobia
It is amazing how much our visual sense can work to implant fears. It is possible to view a volcano erupting in the news and make the decision never to visit or move to any location that is close to a volcano.
It may sound strange, but we may even have an irrational fear about where the lava may come from. We may believe that somehow this is evil remnant of hell spewing onto the earth.
We may fear the heat, potential death and the knowledge that this is a natural event we have no control over.
Most people who have phobias adjust everything about their lives to assure they have the greatest control over circumstances. What they fear most indicates a loss of control and the defense mechanism is to avoid the object of fear while expressing panic over the pending loss of personal control.
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Symptoms of Ifestíophobia
If a person who fears volcanoes is forced by life situations to live near a volcano (active or dormant) there may be the persistent worry that the volcano will erupt at any time. They may cast a wary eye toward the volcano – even when it simply appears to be nothing more than snow capped mountain peak. These individuals will also insist on fleeing if and when they hear that the volcano has become active.
Other symptoms may include…
- Heart rates that are erratic or elevated
- Air hunger
- Panic attacks
- The feeling you may be dying
- Elevated body temperature
- Sense of dread
Volcanoes are a natural event that is outside the control of mankind. Someone who fears volcanoes places enormous pressure on themselves by trying to control the uncontrollable.
Some of the best ways to overcome the fear of volcanoes is to understand more about them. The truth is if an evacuation is requested in the area of an active volcano there is generally no loss of life. There may be issues of cleanup from falling ash, but technology now provides a means of determining the potential of volcanic activity and appropriate steps can be taken to alert the public.
If you need someone to talk to about your fear you should consider a therapy session followed up by participation in a support group.
Medication and hypnosis can also help you come to terms with your fear and allow you to either come to accept it or at the very least tolerate those things you cannot control.