Some people say the modern world invents new fears and phobias because indeed there are so many new items around, we just can’t handle it. Others consider that what is commonly known as “new phobias” represent a mix of genuine fears, personal anxiety traits, social triggers and a misguided interpretation of current life and events. To be afraid of heights, of insects, of darkness or of water can somehow be traced to an early human evolutionary stage, when those fears were justified and healthy even. Nowadays, even psychologists have to struggle with the new labels and symptoms, as not many of the new modern fears are officially listed and recognized as such by the scientific community. Many people enjoy a good laugh when read about these phobias online, usually listed under some smashing title such as “Top ten…”, “The most…” etc., but few stop to wonder how do the people describing these various and sometimes hilarious symptoms manage on their everyday life? We have scientifically proven psychological therapies for treating and curing anxiety and many types of old-school phobias. But how can we treat some fears that seem taken out from fantasy movies and books and sound completely unrealistic? Are all phobias genuine or are they something more than the eye can see?
The fear of not having a mobile phone when you need it. Abbreviated from “no–mobile-phone phobia“, it is a term officially in use since 2008, when a British research sampled over 2,000 people and found out that not being able to use the mobile phone was a situation triggering the same symptoms of a classic phobia, together with the panic attack’s features, such as shorten of breath, increased heart rate, sweaty palms and so on.
Allegedly, the fear of cigarettes and cigarette smoke, this new modern fear might disappear just as it appeared: in a puff. People severely affected by this phobia describe an intense physical and emotional reaction to seeing cigarettes or being around other people who smoke. Maybe for them there is some resolve, together with the rise of the electronic cigarette. The new models don’t even look like cigarettes anymore and any blu cig user will testify that they don’t release any type of smelly smoke. Seeing cigarettes on TV too seems to throw these sufferers in a world of pain, but luckily for them, many actors and celebs use these personal vaporizers both on and off screen, so this phobia might slowly disappear in a while.
3. Functional dysphagia (fear of swallowing food)
Although food phobias are well researched especially in children, some of them can turn into real trouble in adults, as they may be linked to eating disorders and other types of self – damaging behaviors. The fear of swallowing food is not new, however, as scientist tried to find its connection and correlations with anorexia and bulimia, for instance. It is a troubling fear and it may lead to future mental and health problems, but not once did the medical and psychological world wondered if this modern fear is not triggered somehow by the media and the praise we tend to give to super – slim photo models, actresses and even some bad boys with perfect abs.
As we said, fear and phobias are not new. There are incommensurable types of social phobias and fears related to specific objects or events and many of them are highly documented. There are also rare phobias, usually manifested in larger contexts and a simple diagnosis with a hard-to-read label on top may not be exactly what these people need in terms of help. On the other hand, at a first glance, one might not take the matters seriously. What would happen if one would lose the mobile cell? Get a heart attack out of fear? Science has still a lot of answers to deliver. Some of these fears, triggered by the modern world and the technological developments might become less and less prevalent in the general population, while others might remain a constant mystery and a source of future scientific inquiry.
Author Bio: Clare Evans vapes her blu cig while reading about phobias. Psychologist during the day and health blogger during the night, she is constantly concerned about the benefits and drawbacks the modern times inflict on people, from a personal, social and evolutionary point of view.