Chronomentrophobia is an unusual, irrational and intense fear of clocks, watches or timepieces. It is related to Chronophobia or the fear of time and can result in severe anxiety and panic.
What Is Chronomentrophobia?
The term Chronomentrophobia is derived from the Greek word “chrono” meaning time, Latin word “ment” meaning ‘that of’, and the word “phobos”, which is the embodiment of fear in Greek mythology. This irrational fear of clocks and watches can lead to high levels of anxiety and stress in the sufferer and may even lead to panic attacks. Anxiety can be related to schedules, promptness, punctuality etc.
This type of irrational fear is mostly observed in individuals who work with strict deadlines or feel stressed about being on time. A phobia for clocks and watches may also signify a passive fear of death as well. Clocks measure the never-ending passage of time. “For people with Chronomentrophobia, every tick on the clock may act as a continuous reminder that life is fleeting and finite,” explains Mind Help.
What Chronomentrophobia Feels Like?
Although similar to Chronophobia or the fear of time 1, this unusual phobia of clocks is a different condition separate from the phobia of passing time. Several cases have been observed where people experience an extreme fear of clocks. They usually develop an intense fear of feeling anxiety as it leads to serious discomfort and stress. To be afraid of timepieces, it is not necessary for a sufferer to be physically exposed to clocks and watches. Even the thought or anticipation of time or a clock can trigger a phobic reaction to threatening circumstances, even though the person might not be physically present in that situation. The human brain can experience symptoms of panic simply by anticipating 2 an unpleasant or intimidating situation.
Specific phobias and fears, like Chronomentrophobia, are usually categorized as anxiety disorders. People with this disorder often believe that their lives are controlled by clocks and time. The ticking of clocks can often prove to be a source of intense frustration, anxiety and irritation to sufferers. Usually, they tend to be sensitive towards the sound of clocks ticking which may aggravate their problem.
Sufferers may have an innate hatred towards keeping clocks inside their homes or workspaces. However, with the advent of the digital age, it has become somewhat easier for people with Chronomentrophobia to keep track of time without getting triggered. Today, clocks have become more sophisticated and gadgets & devices have made numbers more acceptable and “less scary”. As they don’t have to face the horror of the clock ticking eternally, people with this phobia have new ways to check the time and cope with their fears.
Symptoms Of Chronomentrophobia
As with any phobia, the symptoms may vary depending on the individual and the severity of their condition. A person with Chronomentrophobia may typically experience the following physical and/or psychological symptoms:
1. Physical symptoms
Most of the time, physical symptoms may occur suddenly and without any prior warnings. Along with overwhelming feelings of hysteria, this condition can have certain physical symptoms, such as:
- Chest pains
- Heart palpitations
- Choking sensations
- Headaches and dizziness
- Tightness in the chest or chest pain and difficulty breathing
- Ringing in your ears
- Confusion or disorientation
2. Psychological symptoms
When exposed to certain triggers, an individual with chronomentrophobia may also experience these emotional symptoms:
- Anger & irritability
- Mood swings
- Anxiety and fear
- Fear of losing control
- Fear of fainting
- Fear of dying
Read More About Anger Here
Causes Of Chronomentrophobia
There are no specific causes for this particular phobia. However, it is generally accepted that phobias are a result of a number of factors like genetics, environment 3, traumatic experiences and brain chemistry. Most specific phobias arise due to a traumatic childhood event 4 that may act as the triggering event. Apart from this, if one of your family members has a history of mental disorders, like anxiety or specific phobias, then you are highly likely to develop a fear of clocks.
Moreover, clock watchers can also develop this phobia. As they tend to become easily bored at work or school, the slow passage of time can make them prone to high levels of anxiety, stress and apathy.
Diagnosis Of Chronomentrophobia
Like any specific phobias, chronomentrophobia should be formally diagnosed by a medical professional or a psychologist or a psychiatrist. However, a person with a fear of clocks can take an online test to determine the scope of the problem and better understand their phobia.
Treatment Of Chronomentrophobia
Currently, there are no treatments developed particularly for chronomentrophobia. However, therapy and medication can help to greatly improve the symptoms associated with this condition. Here are some treatment options that a person with this mental disorder can consider for curing their phobia:
Different types of therapy like exposure therapy, CBT and DBT can prove to be highly helpful when accompanied by medications under the guidance of a healthcare professional. Here are some of the therapies available for the treatment of this phobia:
A. Exposure Therapy
This is one of the most common and effective therapies available for people affected by phobias. Exposure therapy 5 requires the therapist to eventually expose the patient to the object or situation they are afraid of. For this condition, a therapist may start by exposing the sufferer to images and videos of clocks. Once they are comfortable, the therapist can then gradually expose the patient to an actual clock and encourage them to observe it. By getting exposed to their phobia repeatedly, the patient can get desensitized to clocks and overcome their fear.
B. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT 6 is another popular form of treatment for phobias. It allows the phobic individual to gain a clear understanding of their irrational fear. With the help of cognitive behavioural therapy, people with Chronomentrophobia can realize whether their anxiety and fear of timepieces is an accurate depiction of reality or their own imagination.
Read More About Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Here
C. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Therapy
Therapy involving mindfulness meditation 7 techniques can significantly help people with anxiety problems. Hence, it can enable people with chronomentrophobia to learn essential coping skills which will help them to alleviate the symptoms and control their anxiety.
D. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
It is a very effective form of therapy for people struggling with emotion regulation. A common technique is the half-smile 8. The patient is asked to smile when they think about their fear as it enables them to relax by improving a stressful situation. The face muscles communicate with the part of the brain that regulates emotions and helps the patient to prevent painful emotions that their fear may provoke.
E. Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)
It is a psychological approach that can help individuals reach certain personal goals, It involves communication, thoughts and behaviour patterns developed through experience for attaining particular outcomes. In this treatment the person with chronomentrophobia may be asked to:
- Access & observe their fear in a protected situation to know the depth of their phobia
- Replay the traumatic events triggering the fear of clocks and replacing them with good memories
- Disconnect from their surroundings, which will help them to lower their phobia
Although there are no specific medications for the treatment of phobias, certain medicines can significantly help in alleviating the symptoms of chronomentrophobia. If the patient has
- Anti-anxiety drugs can help to prevent and manage panic attacks
- Antidepressants can not only relieve depression symptoms but also help with anxiety disorders 9 and other conditions like phobias
Read More About Antidepressants Here
Overcoming Your Fear
Although most people don’t seek treatment for chronomentrophobia, getting professional help can enable someone to overcome their fear, work with deadlines and live a normal life around clocks. However, it is also important that people with this condition look inside and understand the deep-rooted cause of their fear. Once you understand yourself, you will be better able to manage your phobia and deal with your condition before it gets more severe.References:
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- Sars, D., & van Minnen, A. (2015). On the use of exposure therapy in the treatment of anxiety disorders: a survey among cognitive behavioural therapists in the Netherlands. BMC psychology, 3(1), 26. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40359-015-0083-2
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