The Dread Files – Pyrophobia

What Is Pyrophobia?
One of the most common phobias is pyrophobia, a persistent and unwarranted fear of fire. Any phobia can be considered irrational if beyond what is considered normal. Pyrophobia is ancient and primordial, perhaps since mankind’s discovery of fire. The origin of the word Pyro is Latin (meaning fire) and phobia is Greek (meaning fear). Pyrophobia is also known as Arsonphobia. Whatever the identity one calls this concern by, its symptoms during panic assaults are the same.

What Are The Causes?
The most common cause of the phobia is that fire poses a potential danger, such as house fire, wildfire, and being set alight. Some people who are intensely pyrophobic cannot get close to or tolerate even a small controlled fire, such as fireplace, bonfire or lit candle. In many cases a bad childhood experience with fire may have triggered the condition.

What Are The Symptoms?
Pyrophobia can have devastating effects on a person’s daily life. The smell of smoke or a burning smell can trigger an anxiety attack. Phobics may constantly check the stove, boiler and heating elements of their homes. In severe cases, the phobia can lead to obsessive-compulsive personality disorders.

Someone with pyrophobia may be unable to tolerate candles or campfires. They may develop obsessive-compulsive rituals such as constantly checking the batteries in smoke detectors or checking to ensure that the oven is off.

As with any type of phobia, the symptoms vary depending on the by person’s level of fear. If a pyrophobe sees fire, the person may sweat and suffer dizziness or upset stomach, extreme anxiety, dread and anything associated with panic such as shortness of breath, rapid breathing, irregular heartbeat, sweating, excessive sweating, nausea, dry mouth, inability to articulate words or sentences, dread, feeling trapped, and may tremble or faint.

Panic attacks may not happen when seeing actual fire; there are lots of people who experience panic attacks simply by taking a look at fire and flames in theaters or on the television. Pyrophobia is usually started by the unconscious mind that tends to guard itself from recollections of some event linking with hearth or flames with regard to emotional trauma. A negative or traumatic experience with fire, such as having to escape a house fire, can trigger pyrophobia in a person. This occasion is kind of a catalyst for pyrophobia, and whenever the sufferer sees any fire or flames, the same event involves mind and the same fear that he or she had experienced then manifests itself.

How Is It Treated
The most common way to treat pyrophobia is exposure therapy. This method involves showing patients fires in order of increasing size, from a lit cigarette up to a stove or grill flame. Another method of treatment is talk therapy, in which a patient tells a therapist about the cause of this fear, which can calm the patient to make them less afraid of controlled fire. People can also relieve pyrophobia by interacting with other pyrophobes to share their experiences that caused fear. Alternatively, pyrophobia can be treated using hypnosis.

Medicine can be prescribed, but please note that these medications can have side effects and/or withdrawal systems that can be severe. It is also important to note that medicines do not cure phobias; at best they only temporarily suppress the symptoms.

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