What is Ataxiophobia?
Ataxiophobia is fear of the medical condition of ataxia, meaning “lack of muscular coordination” (Ataxia results from damage to part of the central nervous system.) Individuals suffering from Ataxiophobia can exhibit an absence of stability, swaying or falling even if they do not have ataxia. People suffering from Ataxiophobia often avoid going out alone for fear of embarrassment, as well as the fear of falling.
This phobia is not to be confused with Ataxophobia which is an irrational fear of disorder or untidiness.
The origin of the word ataxia is Greek (meaning lack of order) and phobia is Greek (meaning fear).
Symptoms of Ataxiophobia
Extreme Anxiety, Dread
- Shortness of Breath
- Rapid Breathing
- Heart Palpitations
- Excessive Sweating
- Dry Mouth
- Confusion / Inability to Articulate Clearly
- Lack of Focus
- Feelings of Powerlessness
- Obsession with the Subject of the Phobia
- Fear or Feelings of Losing Control
- Avoidance Behavior
Causes of Ataxiophobia
Causes of the medical condition ataxia can include deficiency diseases, illnesses of the spine, physical injuries to the nervous system, and the overuse of drugs or alcohol.
Ataxiophobia is a specific (or “isolated”) phobia, centered on non-social key factors. Isolated phobias tend to have some previous trauma (often in childhood and often physically injurious) as a root cause; a fear of bees may stem from an injury in childhood, for instance.
Upbringing can also play a role, such as parental warnings about a direct threat (such as “snakes can bite and kill you”) which is especially notable in cases where a threat is more imminent. (An allergy to bees or peanut butter, for instance, would naturally reinforce a real medical concern.)
It is thought that genetics and hereditary factors may play a role in specific phobias, especially those related to a danger of injury. (A primal “fight or flight” reflex may be more easily triggered in those with a genetic predisposition, for instance.)
By contrast, social phobias (like a fear of body odor or touch) are less well understood, are driven by social anxiety and are broadly labeled as “social anxiety disorder”.
In all kinds of phobias, external experiences and / or reports can further reinforce or develop the fear, such as seeing a family member or friend who is affected. In extreme cases, indirect exposures can be as remote as overhearing a reference in conversation, seeing something in the news, on TV, or in the movies.
Ataxiophobia, like most phobias, stems from a subconscious overprotection mechanism, and as with many phobias can also be rooted in an unresolved emotional conflict.
Treatments for Ataxiophobia
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
- Habit Strategies To Relax
- Cognitive Therapy (CT)
- In Vivo Exposure
- Response Prevention
- Group Therapy
- Energy Psychology