Diabetophobia – The Fear of Diabetes

Diabetophobia - The Fear of Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic condition that develops due to insulin deficiency. Insulin deficiency may occur when the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin required by the body, or when the body fails to use the insulin produced properly.

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What is insulin?

Insulin is a hormone produced and secreted by the pancreas, which breaks down sugar, starches, and other food into the energy needed in the body. Insulin is known to be responsible for the regulation of blood sugar.

This regulation of blood sugar tries to strike a balance to avoid Hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar) or low blood sugar (Hypoglycaemia). Hyperglycaemia is quite likely to occur as a result of diabetes. Gradually, this results in severe damage to most systems in the body, including the nerves and blood vessels.

The exact cause of diabetes is still unknown. However, certain factors may contribute to the occurrence of diabetes, and they include genetics, obesity, lack of exercise, etc.

Diabetophobia is a condition where a person has an extreme and irrational fear of diabetes. Someone like this may have a full-blown panic attack even at the mere thought of things relating to diabetes. Thus, this fear can hinder a person’s normal way of living. However, this is treatable.

What is Diabetophobia?

Diabetophobia is the extreme and irrational fear of diabetes and is regarded as a specific phobia.

Symptoms of Diabetophobia

Diabetophobia, just like other phobias, has its sufferers experiencing some of the following symptoms when they come across a diabetes patient or content relating to diabetes:

  • Intense anxiety 
  • Inability to manage anxiety
  • Full-blown panic attacks
  • Avoiding discussion, persons with diabetes and contents relating to heredity
  • Increased Heartbeat
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Muscle tension
  • Nausea
  • Feelings of dizziness
  • Fear of an impending doom
  • Excessive sweating
  • A sense of butterflies in the stomach
  • Mouth Dryness

You may be diagnosed with diabetophobia when you experience some of these symptoms consistently after getting triggered by anything relating to diabetes for six months.

Causes of Diabetophobia

Diabetophobia - The Fear of Diabetes

Diabetophobia, just like every other phobia, has no exact cause. Experts believe that the development of the condition may be as a result of some contributing factors. Some of these factors include:

Genetics/heredity

Offsprings can inherit health conditions, such as diabetes. A person that has had at least four consecutive cases of diabetes in his or her tree is likely to develop diabetes.

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Persons like that may also develop diabetophobia because their chances of getting diabetes are pretty high. More so, experts believe that phobias are inheritable as well.

Traumatic experience

A traumatic experience is the most common predisposing factor known to phobias.

Traumatic experiences are more like unforgettable and unpleasant events that took place in the past but keep hurting the victim even when the victim is safe.

If you have had a diabetic family member who suffered a near-death experience or if you have lost someone you love to diabetes, you may likely have a phobia for diabetes.

Background upbringing

Environment has a great influence on people us massively. Growing up in an environment that exaggerates the effects of diabetes will make people develop an intense fear of the disease.

More so, being raised by diabetic parents or a loved one would make a child see the struggle and symptoms that come with the condition. Children like this may grow up to have diabetophobia.

Therefore, Diabetophobia could be as a result of the combination of the factors mentioned above.

Treatment of Diabetophobia

No specific treatment is promised to cure any phobia. However, therapy and sometimes medications are widely used methods for managing the symptoms and effects of phobia.

Therapy

Consulting your therapist, who is equipped with the skills to help you overcome your fears, may help you recover from Diabetophobia. Therapists are likely to use the following approaches:

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This is the most widely used approach in treating phobias. CBT requires your therapist helping you to point out specific negative and irrational thought patterns that may be responsible for your fears and replaces them with positive ones.
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): Joining a DBT group is therapeutic. Even though DBT is mostly used in the treatment of some personality disorders, it can also be used in treating specific phobias, including Diabetophobia. DBT groups carry out a six-month program where people will be taught coping skills to help them stay in control when faced with your source of fear.
  • Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR): MBSR is an eight-week program consisting of group sessions. In MBSR, mindful meditations are taught and practised collectively as a group. After the meditation class, a group discussion is held where everyone gets to talk about mental health. On the course of this program, you will meet people like you and even make friends with some of them. That way, you would not feel lonely. With the support of the friends you will make there and that of the group coach, you will hopefully pull through.

Medication

Medications are not the cure of diabetophobia or any phobia, but they are helpful. Medicines are administered to help suppress the symptoms of Diabetophobia, while you go through therapy.

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The following are the two types of medications used in the treatment of phobias, specifically Diabetophobia.

  • Anti-anxiety Drugs: They are medicines known to lower anxiety by forming bonds with the receptor cells in your brain. The receptor cells may be responsible for some of the extreme symptoms of diabetophobia.
  • Anti-depressant Drugs: These drugs are commonly used to treat depression, but they are considered competent in the treatment of phobias because they reduce anxiety. They include medicines such as Lexapro.

Note: These drugs may have side effects, and long-term use may result in addiction and dependence. Therefore, these drugs should be taken strictly based on your doctor’s prescription.

Yoga/Meditation

Meditating often will helps calm your nerves and get you inner peace. It is known as a relaxation technique that allows the practitioner to escape negative thoughts. By taking deep breaths, your mind gets channeled and motivated to be more positive and productive.

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