Understanding The Fear Of Fear (Phobophobia)

Last Update on October 12, 2022 : Published on October 12, 2022

I am sure you must have come across a lot of weird phobias and fears but did you know something like phobophobia existed? Phobophobia is the fear of fear! Isn’t it ironic? An individual who is afraid of developing a fear ends up developing a phobia because of that fear.

I, in fact, find it very unfortunate that your fear of developing a phobia is actually what’s causing it. There are so many people who are dealing with rare to common types of phobias. Many among them as well as the ones who are free of phobias can develop phobophobia.

In this blog today we are going to understand phobophobia, its symptoms, cause, and treatment options. If you are someone who easily gets anxious about developing a mental illness or phobia, pay close attention to the symptoms of phobophobia.

One should always be aware of the symptoms of such mental illnesses and what causes them, especially when you have anticipatory anxiety.

Let’s understand phobophobia in detail…

What Does Phobophobia Mean?


Phobophobia can be defined as an intense and irrational fear of developing a phobia. Basically, you are afraid of being afraid of something. Because of the added complexity of phobophobia, it becomes even more challenging to cope with.

The fact that you’re afraid of fear itself, can make it difficult to comprehend and make sense of all those irrationally intrusive thoughts that accompany it. The fear of developing a phobia can easily be triggered by your stress or panic response.

I say so because the fear itself develops from the anticipation of how you are going to react to it. The anxiety, panic and worry you feel when your body generates the stress response can be overwhelming.

Let’s explore phobophobia through its symptoms and causes…

Symptoms Of Phobophobia

Like all other phobias, the main symptom, intense and irrational fear of the said things, remains common. In this case, there is an irrational yet intense fear of fear itself.  To recognize phobophobia in yourself or your loved one, you need to watch out for these symptoms;

  • Chest pain
  • Trembling
  • Chills
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Breathing issues
  • Excessive sweating
  • Intrusive thoughts

If you are wondering why these symptoms are resembling symptoms of a panic attack, you’re not wrong. Phobophobia symptoms and panic attack symptoms are similar. The only difference is that in a panic attack you believe that there is potential danger close to you.

While in phobophobia, you are aware of the absence of danger yet intrusive and irrational thoughts generate the stress response. Another thing you have to keep in mind is that phobophobia symptoms appear when you think or talk about fear.

Phobophobia Causes


There is no cause for phobophobia. Different people’s phobophobia can be triggered by different things. It completely depends on the kind of experiences one has had. Phobophobia can be caused if you have witnessed a loved one struggle with their phobia or are easily aroused when in a stressful situation.

Some of the common causes of phobophobia can be a family history of phobia, anxiety disorders, or other mental conditions.  The presence of anticipatory anxiety, panic disorders, or other anxiety-related disorders increases the risk of phobophobia. Phobophobia can also coexist with some other phobia that you are currently dealing with.

How To Overcome Phobophobia?

To overcome phobophobia the first thing you need to do is visit a mental health expert. No mental health condition can be overcome without proper professional guidance. If you have found yourself a victim of phobophobia, just relax and meet your doctor.

Once you have been diagnosed with phobophobia, you can either opt for therapy, medication, or both. You can sit with your doctor and choose the right treatment plan to overcome phobophobia.

When it comes to therapy, exposure therapy, behavior therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, etc work best for phobophobia. In some studies, it was proven that carbon dioxide exposure can also help in reducing the symptoms of photophobia.

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Talking of drug treatment for phobophobia, there is not much use of medications. However, in some severe cases, drugs like beta-blockers and sedatives can be prescribed for temporary relief.

Now, while you are undergoing treatment for phobophobia, you can make some lifestyle changes to speed up the process. Such as;

That’s All Folks!

I hope you found this blog about phobophobia interesting, helpful, and informative. Do share this blog with your friends and family so that no one fails to recognize the fear of fear itself. Phobophobia does come with its own complexities but with correct guidance and treatment, one can easily overcome phobophobia.

Thanks for reading.

Take care and stay safe.

About The Author

Kirti Bhati
Kirti Bhati

I am an English literature (major) and psychology (minor) graduate from St. Bede’s College, Shimla. Postgraduate in Clinical psychology from IIS University, Jaipur. She has published a Research paper on Music therapy in the military population and Workplace stress in a national seminar conducted by Fortis hospital (gurugram) and international seminar conducted by St. Bede’s College, Shimla, Respectively. Authored a dissertation work on ‘effect of social media addiction on the mental and physical well-being in adolescents’ Currently working at calm sage as a writer.

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