Automatonophobia: The Fear of Wax Figures, Humanoid Robots, Audio-animatronics, Etc

Automatonophobia

Everyone has things that frighten them, in the case of Automatonophobia, it is the ear of any or all human-like figures like dolls, mannequins, robot, statues, and puppet and so on.

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The word originated from the Greek word “autos or automatons” meaning self-acting, and “Phobos” which means fear, or avoiding fear.

There is a time when fear of something causes a problem to our daily lives, but for someone who has Automatonophobia can experience significant anxiety from being in contact with human-like figures, or even just from the thought of it.

Causes of Automatonophobia

There isn’t a concrete fact of the causes of phobias, same apply with Automatonophobia, but there are some causes that are worth mentioning. These usually have a little or massive factor in the development of Automatonophobia.

Movies have usually been on the major causes of various phobias. In the case of Automatonophobia, a child might have seen multiple films such as I-Robot; this is a movie that depicts the negative role of supper intelligent robots. These robots were capable of making a decision; part of this decision was the destruction of the human race.

Also, Terminator is another Sci-Fi movie that shows the domination of Robots over humans. A visit to a wax museum, where wax is used to create human figures, such a place could be creepy to someone with a sensitive mind.

Various pranks that might be related to human-like figures might have been played on an individual who might cause a great fear of human-like figures in their adult life. These are some of the plausible factors that might lead to children developing Automatonophobia in the early stages of their lives.

A combination of genetic tendencies, brain reaction, biological factor, environmental tendencies, and psychological factors can all affect someone and cause them to have Automatonophobia.

Some traits are leaned or passed down to younger siblings or children, like a walking pattern, eating mode, reaction to certain things. Same applies to Automatonophobia. It could be passed down to the younger ones in the house, or they could learn this fear just by observing the way their family members react to the object.

Stress and Depression are a significant factor in the development of various phobias. If someone with high stress and depression level is left untreated, they might grow to develop Automatonophobia over a long period of time.

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Symptoms of Automatonophobia

The effect of Automatonophobia on people depends on the severity of the disorder, and how easy it is to avoid that which frightens them.

To lower the effect of Automatonophobia, many who suffer from the illness would go to a great length to avoid places where various human-like figures might be present, places like malls which has numerous mannequins, a museum which houses multiple human waxed figures, or movie theatres.

All these places are capable of causing fear for people who have Automatonophobia, so they try their hardest to avoid such situations.

One can see that Automatonophobia can affect their daily lives and daily routines, reduces work efficiency and self-esteem and many others among those who suffer from this illness.

Some other symptoms of Automatonophobia include;

  • Sweaty palms
  • Racing heart
  • Falling out of touch with reality
  • Feeling  dizzy, choky, lightheadedness etc
  • Cold or hot flushes
  • The thought of death or dying
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath or feelings of suffocation
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Trembling and shaking

Automatonophobia can display all kinds of symptoms in different patients. Just the thought of the objects or encountering these objects of their fear could cause anxiety and severe panic attack for different people on different occasions.

It could be alarming and very embarrassing for people who have Automatonophobia, so they try to avoid the cause of their panics in most cases. But there is always not the best option, as they are only acknowledging the fact that the fear for human figures is indeed real.

Although avoiding them most times is not always easy, so relationships are broken, and day to day life is affected.

Treatment for Automatonophobia

Automatonophobia

Treatments for Automatonophobia might include some Talk Therapy like Cognitive-behavioural (CBT), or Exposure therapy. Exposure therapy is seen as one of the most common forms of treatment for those who are suffering from various phobias, including Automatonophobia.

Below is a list of treatments that might have helped those that are suffering from Automatonophobia

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Exposure Therapy

Exposure therapy is a pervasive way of treating various forms of phobia. Exposure therapy works well for most patients suffering from phobias, including Automatonophobia.

Its procedure is quite adequate, as people who have Automatonophobia, are gradually made to put themselves in various positions where they find themselves in the midst of human-like figures, and learning to cope with their fears, while in that state.

The patient might have to be in a room with a mannequin. The patient would be made to remain there for an amount of time. If the phobic develops the confidence to be in the presence of a mannequin, he might advance to a more fear striking form of treatment.

In the course of treatment of Automatonophobia, the Doctor might start the procedure by showing pictures of various figures like statues, dolls, mannequin to the patient; after some time, he might also have to introduce said patients to a video of these figures.

This is seen as one of the best ways of treating Automatonophobia, so Doctors use this mode of treatment more.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive-behavioural therapy is another mode of treatment that is very helpful in treating those with Automatonophobia. It’s an option that focuses on changing the negative thoughts that people who have Automatonophobia, to healthier ones.

This treatment is known to help them improve their lifestyle. Phobias can cause visible activation and changes in neural pathways of the brain. Through research in 2013, studies have found that CBT has a significant impact on people who have specific phobias, such as Automatonophobia.

Some Medication for those with Automatonophobia includes;

D-cycloserine (DCS)

This is a drug that is said to help exposure therapy work well. A result in a 2017 review afforms this claim.

Beta-blockers

Beta-blockers is a medication that helps with physical symptoms of anxiety. Increase heart rate, dizziness, among others, is some of the physical symptoms Beta-blockers treats. They are used before going into a situation that might trigger the physical symptoms

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Benzodiazepines

These are some forms of sedative that help to decrease anxiety symptoms in patients. These medications could be very addictive; this is one of its downsize; so it is usually used occasionally, and as prescribed by the Doctor.

Support Groups

This is a form of treatment, where people suffering from all kinds of phobias, anxiety or stress-related problems go-to to find a solution to their worries.

By sharing one’s experience with other people, it helps to know that they are not alone, and they might be able to overcome their fears. There are various offline and online support groups.

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