Pyrophobia (Fear of Fire) : Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment
Last Updated: Dec 26, 2020
What is Pyrophobia?
Do you shiver restlessly if someone recommends cooking or grilling over a campfire? Do you ask your friends not to light the candles on your anniversary cake? If you're scared of fire, you may have pyrophobia, a term used to define an utmost fear of fire.
Pyrophobia is a very common phobia since fire is possibly unsafe. A bit of anxiety from fire or flames can be considered healthy and normal. But, those who have pyrophobia are not able to stand small fires and usually feel dizzy or uneasy, when they come in contact with even well-controlled fires.
People having pyrophobia seem to feel anxious and get panic attacks when they are around fire. They feel uncomfortable even while talking or thinking about fire. Research reveals that most of the people who suffer from this phobia accept that their fear is untenable, yet they still find it hard to overcome it.
Pyrophobia Signs and Symptoms
Symptoms associated with Pyrophobia are very spontaneous and are not in control of a person. It takes over an individual’s mind and often leads to extreme discomfort because of negative and emotional encounters with fires.
Pyrophobia can become really worse and complicated over a period of time. Hence, consulting a medical expert is extremely important if you have the following symptoms when you are around fires or flames:
- Dry mouth
- Lack of concentration
- Unable to relax
- Difficulty in breathing
- Feeling angry and anxious
- Pains and Aches
- Excessive sweating
Symptoms in children: Children can also experience the fear of fire. They may show the following symptoms:
- Not wanted to talk about a fire
- Throwing tantrums
- Freezing up
- May refuse to leave parent's side
Common Causes of Pyrophobia
Exact causes of phobias are not exactly known. Causes of Pyrophobia can be:
- A negative encounter: A person who has fear of fire may have had some bad event of a fire. He/she may have been burned or caught in a fire or might have lost something to fire.
- Genetics/HereditaryStudies reveal that parents who have anxiety or phobias are likely to pass it to their children. Although the exact reason behind this is not known, specific phobias such as Pyrophobia can run in families and can either be learned or inherited.
- Functioning of brain:Our brains receive and process information very differently from each other. Hence, some people are likely to be more afraid of fire than others.
How to Diagnosis Fear of Fire?
For some, Pyrophobia can just cause mere inconvenience in their lifestyle and they find ways to deal with it. However, for others, Pyrophobia can be a rather severe condition and requires medical aid.
If the fear of fire is impacting your lifestyle to an extent that you are not able to function properly, then visit a doctor and get yourself diagnosed and treated.
During diagnosis, your doctor would ask certain questions to understand your medical condition and related symptoms. As a part of the diagnostic procedure, your physician will also ask your medical and psychiatric history.
A doctor in some cases can also suggest diagnostic criteria such as Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) that can help in diagnosing mental conditions.
Treatment Strategies for Pyrophobia
Individuals who suffer from Pyrophobia should consult a psychotherapist for medical help. A common treatment route that most doctors follow is Exposure Therapy in which a patient is presented through pictures or drawings of fires, as well as examples of a real fire, such as a candle or lit match so that a person can overcome the fear of fire. Another way of treatment is Cognitive behavioural therapy which is used in combination with the exposure therapy.
A doctor may also carry out certain other therapies to help the patient overcome his/her fear of fire and anxiety issues. For this, a patient can discuss his feelings with the medical expert so that his fears and thoughts can be understood by the doctor.
Thereafter, the doctor can help a person change his thoughts in order to decrease or eliminate the fear and symptoms of Pyrophobia. During the course of treatment, a therapist will use certain objects and instances that would cause little or no danger to the patient.
As a part of treatment, a patient also learns a few strategies that can help in staying calm and composed during any encounter with fires or flames. Apart from this, doctors recommend doing relaxation techniques and breathing control to treat this phobia. In many cases, medications are also used to treat pyrophobia, anxiety and other related symptoms.
How to Overcome from Fear of Fire?
Pyrophobia is a particular type of phobia described as the fear of fire. Individuals having this phobia feel very anxious when they are around fire even if they are not in any dangerous circumstance.
Pyrophobia can be completely overcome either by exposure therapy or cognitive behavioural therapy or sometimes both are required. If you’re facing extreme pyrophobia, talk to your doctor and seek medical attention.
For anyone suffering from fear of fire, the day to day life is affected when exposed to fire and it can be very challenging. But it can be managed with few techniques.
- Try to take us assessments and deal with fear of attacks and try to overcome when exposed to fire- related objects
- You should know how to analyze which type of fire can cause more fear or anxiety.
- Make sure that you consult your doctor about issues you're facing. Your doctor will treat based on the information you provide.
- Try to avoid intake of caffeine as it may worsen the effects of anxiety.
- Try to adopt a healthy lifestyle so that you can feel better.
- Try to exercise at least once a day and practice breathing techniques. Meditation and Yoga techniques will help you to improve your psychological health.
- Drink a lot of water and avoid consuming alcohol.
- Seek out a reliable health care provider who can understand you for the better and help overcome your fears.
Additional Information on Pyrophobia
Pyrophobia can leave an overwhelming effect on one’s everyday lifestyle pattern. Even the burning smell or odour of smoke can trigger anxiety or panic attacks in someone who has fear of fires. Such people always find themselves checking the stove, boiler and heating elements again and again.
People who have fear or fires can not bear campfires or candles and tend to exhibit an obsessive compulsion of checking batteries in smoke detectors or if the oven is off. In some cases, people get migraine or stomach cramps because of the odour of smoke. Like all other phobias, Pyrophobia needs medical attention and it is recommended to visit a medical expert to overcome the fear of fires.
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