Have you ever seen a large object and been overcome with fear and anxiety? Does looking at pictures of large objects make you nervous? Do you get worried and petrified whenever you even think of a large building, vehicle, or other objects? If your answer to those questions is “yes”, then you might have megalophobia. In this post, we will cover the different aspects of Megalophobia. What is it, what are its symptoms, what are its triggers and what are the possible methods for controlling it? Let’s get started.
Megalophobia: All You Need to Know
What is Megalophobia?
Megalophobia is also known as a “fear of large objects.” It’s a very serious condition and it’s marked by significant nervousness that is so severe, you take great measures to avoid your triggers. For many people, megalophobia can be serious enough to seriously impact their day to day life. Similar to other phobias, underlying anxiety is usually tied to megalophobia as well. While it requires considerable time and effort, it is possible to successfully cope with this condition. Let’s start with understanding its psychology.
Megalophobia: Psychology and symptoms
What is a phobia?
In reality, many of the objects or situations you may have a phobia to are unlikely to cause any actual harm. However, on a psychological level, people with phobias can experience extreme anxiety which might force them to think otherwise. It’s also normal to be fearful of certain situations or objects. For example, you might be afraid of heights or perhaps a negative experience with a certain animal makes you nervous whenever you encounter them. The key difference between a phobia and a rational fear, though, is that the intense fear stemming from phobias interferes with your everyday life.
Your fears can take over your daily schedule, making you avoid certain situations. In more severe cases, you might completely avoid leaving the house.
Megalophobia may stem from negative experiences with large objects. Whenever you encounter very large objects in the flesh/in pictures/in your imagination, you might start experiencing severe anxiety.
If the object that’s giving you anxiety poses no inherent danger to you, you can safely conclude that you have a phobia and not a rational fear.
Sometimes the fear of large objects stems from learned behaviors you grew up with from other family members. Phobias themselves may also be hereditary. However, the thing you might inherit is the anxiety, and not the exact phobia. Your parents and you might end up being phobic towards different things.
What are the symptoms of a phobia?
These are the most commonly occurring symptoms of a phobia:
- extreme irrational fear
- increased heart rate
- mild chest pain
- upset stomach
- vomiting or diarrhea
- shortness of breath
What causes megalophobia?
The main trigger for megalophobia is an exposure to a large object in any form. Sometimes, just an image of a large object is enough to trigger a person’s megalophobia. Phobias may be linked to generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and social anxiety.
What are some large objects that can cause megalophobia?
These are some of the most common types of large objects that tend to trigger megalophobia in people:
- tall buildings, including skyscrapers
- statues and monuments
- big spaces, where you may have feelings similar to claustrophobia
- hills and mountains
- large vehicles, such as garbage trucks, trains, and buses
- airplanes and helicopters
- boats, yachts, and ships
- large bodies of water, such as lakes and oceans
- big animals, including whales and elephants
- sometimes, even massive characters or objects in video games can also trigger people’s megalophobia
How to know if you have megalophobia?
Most people who suffer from a phobia are well aware of what causes their anxiety. Sadly, there isn’t a specific clinical test to ascertain if a person has a phobia or not. Instead, diagnosis requires confirmation from a psychologist or psychiatrist that specializes in mental health disorders.
A mental health professional can identify this phobia based on your history and symptoms surrounding large objects. They will help you to identify the source of your fears — these most often stem from negative experiences. By identifying the experience as the root cause of your phobia, you can then work toward healing from past trauma.
You may also be asked questions about your symptoms and feelings surrounding large objects. In some cases, you might have a fear of certain large objects but not others. A mental health counselor can help you link your anxiety symptoms with the things you fear to help you work toward overcoming them.
Some therapists may also use imagery to diagnose specific triggers of your phobia. These include a variety of large objects, such as buildings, monuments, and vehicles. Your counselor would then help you create a treatment plan from there.
How to treat megalophobia?
Treatment for a phobia will involve a combination of therapies, and perhaps medications. Therapy will address the underlying causes of your phobia, while medications will help decrease the severity of your anxiety symptoms.
Therapy options may include:
- cognitive behavioral therapy, an approach that helps you identify your irrational fears and replace them with more rational versions
- desensitization, or exposure therapy, which may involve images or real-life exposure to the objects that trigger your fears
- talk therapy
- group therapy
While some empirical treatments are available, the FDA hasn’t approved any of them for safe usage. In case it’s required, your doctor or mental health professional may prescribe one or a combination of the following to help alleviate anxiety associated with your phobia:
- selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
- serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
Remember, these are not a treatment for you megalophobia, they will just help control the symptoms while not doing anything towards fixing the underlying cause.
How to cope with megalophobia?
While it’s tempting to avoid the large objects that cause fear with your megalophobia, this strategy will only make it more difficult to cope with your condition in the long-term. Instead of avoidance, it’s best to expose yourself to your fears little by little until your anxiety starts to improve.
Another coping mechanism is relaxation. Certain relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing and visualization, can help you manage an encounter with the large objects you’re afraid of.
Bringing some changes to your lifestyle can also help you manage your anxieties better. Some of those changes are:
- balanced diet
- daily exercise
- yoga and other mind-body practices
- stress management
Where to seek help for megalophobia?
If you need assistance managing a phobia, the good news is that there are many ways to find a mental health professional. You can:
- ask your primary care doctor for recommendations
- seek recommendations from friends, family, or loved ones, if you’re comfortable doing so
- search online for therapists in your area by checking out their client testimonials, try to find testimonials from clients who share your phobias as that therapist might be able to help you better
- call your insurance provider to see which therapists accept your plan
When it comes to phobias, megalophobia isn’t as popular and widely talked about as claustrophobia (fear of confined spaces), arachnophobia (fear of spiders), and acrophobia (fear of heights). However, that doesn’t mean that the people who have this phobia, don’t suffer immensely. Yes avoiding large objects seems to be a direct way of managing megalophobia but isn’t really practical because it’s really tough to be away from large objects in today’s world. Especially when even an image can trigger your megalophobia, avoiding isn’t really a long term solution, nor does it address the underlying cause of your anxiety. It’s best to seek the help of a mental health professional, as he/she could help you navigate through your life in such a way that it’s not dictated by your fears.