Fear of Heat

The heat from the sun provides a replenishment of vitamin D. The heat from a cook stove adds unique texture and flavor to blended foods. The heat from a fire can warm a home, and the warmth from a car’s heater can allow occupants to stay comfortable even on the coldest days. Yet for every benefit expressed by the presence of heat there are those who fear it. When the fear becomes profound it is known as Thermophobia.

As essential as heat is to the successful application of living there are those that will only eat raw cold foods. There are those who will wear more clothing instead of turning up the heat, and there are some that can not fathom intentionally enjoying the heat of the sun.

What Causes Thermophobia?

This fear is often linked to the potential damage caused by heat.  For instance the sun may be feared because of the potential of skin cancer. A stove may be feared because of the potential of blisters and burned flesh. Hot foods may be avoided because they might burn the mouth. A fireplace may be avoided because of a potential for a home-destroying fire.

This fear may be the result of a person instance of obsessive/compulsive disorder. It can also develop as a result of observing someone else who has this fear. Finally the fear may be the personal result of pain or suffering caused by an encounter with heat sometime in the past.

As an individual consistently resists sources of heat their fear often grows to include other fears.

Symptoms of Thermophobia

As with most phobias there is generally a very visible reaction to the fear. In this case an individual with Thermophobia will stay away from the stove (some will not own one), they will never light a fire and their drinks will be either tepid or cold. They may move to a moderate climate that does not get too hot and they will stay out of direct sunlight.

Other symptoms may also include…

  • Nausea
  • Air hunger
  • The expressed need to find a cool place
  • Trembling
  • Air hunger
  • Elevated heart rate
  • A feeling of control loss
  • Crying

A person with this fear will likely struggle socially because they cannot agree to engage in activities where heat may be present. This could include a refusal to visit a restaurant, sporting event or outdoor gathering if the sun will be out at the time the gathering takes place.

How to Overcome Thermophobia

Much of the fear associated with heat can be defused by learning precautions that can allow you to coexist with heat and not get burned. This means learning how to tell when heat may be oppressive as opposed to simply casting natural warmth.

Fear of the sun’s heat can be calmed with the use of appropriate clothing, sun screen and knowing when to find shade.

In some cases this will be a good start, but you may need the help of a therapist to assist you deal with the fear and manage subsequent encounters that may leave you feeling vulnerable.

The fear of heat is also referred to as:

  • Heat fear
  • Thermophobia
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