There are many fears we face in our life and phobias are an issue for millions of people. Cherophobia may be an uncommon phobia, but it is a very real one.
The fear of happiness can cause anxiety and physical signs of trembling in the buildup to a joyous event.
We will examine the unique causes behind this fear, as well as cherophobia signs and symptoms to watch for. There are treatments that require the aid of specialists and therapists.
What Is Cherophobia (Fear of Happiness)?
So, what does cherophobia mean? The cherophobia definition comes from its Greek meaning of the fear of happiness or joy. Chero means to rejoice or happiness, while phobia refers to the presence of fear. It may be a phobia that is not commonly heard of, but it is a real concern and issue to many people.
What Causes Cherophobia?
All phobias start from somewhere, whether it is a physical fear or a mental fear, the issue at hand is a real one for the person suffering from the condition. Many phobias have a link to a related event or incident in the person’s past. Some people may also have a genetic disposition towards a phobia as a result of their brain chemistry.
With cherophobia, the origin is usually a traumatic event when the patient was a young child. Some cases are a combination of an event of a similar nature. The medical conditions and external factors that can contribute to cherophobia causes may include:
- A series of distressing events
- A traumatic childhood incident
Cherophobia Signs and Symptoms
A phobia has varying signs and symptoms depending on the severity and apprehension level of the patient. It can range from mild to moderate and from moderate to extreme.
Mild to moderate cases occur with the knowledge of an upcoming pleasant event, which will instill fear and agitation in the sufferer. And, cases that are moderate to extreme in nature are common with immediate happy moments that are sudden and unexpected. The same type of fear and agitation is seen on an extreme level.
The fear of happiness syndrome puts both physical and emotional distress on a person. Symptoms may include a rapid pulse, excess sweating, shortness of breath, nausea, difficulty speaking, and uncontrollable shaking of extremities. With a high level of anxiety, the patient may become restless to the point they need to leave the situation or environment.
For a better understanding of the cherophobia symptoms and signs, we will break down the different effects on the patient.
Fixated on the thought of fear, obsession, loss of control, and the fear of blacking out.
A feeling of terror, persistent worrying over a future fun event, an intense need to leave the situation, sadness, anger, hurt, and guilt.
A rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain, trembling, excessive sweating, gagging, nausea, numbness, and cold or hot flashes.
Cherophobia Risk Factors
Cherophobia occurs in the mind as a reaction to a thought or past event. To come to this thought of fearing a joyful situation or being happy, you must have one or more of the following states of mind:
- The tendency to become anxious or have frequent bouts of anxiety
- Experience adrenal inadequacy
- The tendency to be nervous about life situations
How to Treat Cherophobia
Thankfully, no one has to live their entire life in fear of any particular thing, especially happiness. Everyone deserves to experience the joy of being happy and happy moments.
Medications are used in some situations and are sometimes combined with therapy. They are intended to be used for the short-term, and are not a cherophobia cure.
Beta blockers are used to alleviate anxiety and nervousness; antidepressants can be used in severe and extreme cases of cherophobia, and benzodiazepines work against the anxiety.
Cherophobia treatments may include counseling, psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, or neuro-linguistic programming.
These are the more common types of therapy used to treat cherophobia.
1. Exposure Therapy
Exposure therapy is considered as one of the most effective types of therapy for fear of happiness. It is a form of cognitive behavior therapy that can be used alone or in conjunction with medication. There are five stages in this therapy.
Evaluation: You and your therapist discuss what may have caused this phobia. You will be asked to recall past experiences and events in your childhood.
Feedback: The therapist assesses your condition and develops a treatment plan.
Develop Dread Order: Based on your fear, you discuss possible outcomes of a happy event, covering the mild to the most outrageous incidents.
Exposure: Your fears are put to the test as you face each possible outcome.
Building: You face the individual steps of the fearful situation. You come to realize and appreciate a happy event.
2. Talk Therapy
Also known as psychotherapy, this form of cherophobia treatment proves to be very successful for some people. Talk therapy comes in various forms and is usually planned and managed based on individual needs. Depending on the specialist you are referred to and the connection between the therapist and the patient, treatment may take time.
3. Behavioral Therapy
This form of treatment is similar to exposure therapy, as a therapist will create episodes for the patient in the effort to desensitize their fears. As the patient, you will learn how to deal with each symptom as it happens. You can expect to start out with envisioning the situation, how you could and should react, and build your way up to the unnerving situation.
4. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavioral therapy combines behavioral and cognitive therapy treatments. Improved behavioral changes can be seen within a 15- to 20-week period. However, it can take one year to observe major breakthroughs.
The thought of someone suffering from cherophobia is unbelievable while tragic at the same time. With all the wonderful things our world offers, no one should hide from their life. The phobia of fear of happiness can create an internal and external environment that can become very uncomfortable for a person.
Dealing with emotional and physical symptoms such as extreme worrying and shortness of breath can take a toll on a person. Treatment with the right kind of therapy may help to overcome the fears associated with cherophobia.
“What is Cherophobia or Fear of Happiness & How is it Treated?” ePain Assist, March 4, 2017; https://www.epainassist.com/mental-health/phobias/what-is-cherophobia-or-fear-of-happiness-and-how-is-it-treated, last accessed June 23, 2017.
“WHAT IS CHEROPHOBIA AND THE SYMPTOM?” Fact of Life for You; http://fact-of-life-for-you.blogspot.ca/2016/11/what-is-cherophobia-and-symptom.html, last accessed June 23, 2017.