In this article we will discuss mycophobia. Phobia is a word derived from Greek language which means fear. This may be an exaggerated aversion with something. There are various factors which can contribute to developing phobia. Environmental and genetic factors are likely to pave the way for the development of a phobia. Anyone can expose themselves to any kind of phobia by thinking irrationally about a particular thing. A person with some kind of phobia will try to avoid things which he considers to be hazardous. Phobias are mental disorders which can be cured or overcome.
Phobias are usually a blend of irrational thoughts and fears from a particular object. Mycophobia means the fear of mushrooms or fear of fungus in any form. The word mycophobia is derived from Greek language. Myco means fungus and phobia means fear.
Those who suffer from this phobia get easily afraid of falling sick from those objects which are fungi including, mushrooms, toadstools and mould. Mostly, people developed this phobia listening to different stories about negative consequences of having eaten toadstools and spores from black mould which penetrates into eyes or lungs and can cause danger.
Those who have developed mycophobia or are afraid of mushrooms and fungus are terrified by mushrooms that they will refrain from eating or even touching them. An accidental contact with such objects will incite different symptoms of phobia such as, screaming, sweating and crying.
An individual suffering from the fear of mushrooms or fungus will intentionally avoid getting in contact with mushrooms. Avoiding mushrooms intentionally may raise their chances of worsening the symptoms of mycophobia.
In 1987, William Delisle Hay coined the term fungophobia. He was a notorious mycologist in Britain. He studied fungus and mushrooms. He is regarded as the first person to have spoken regarding cultural and social fear of mushrooms which he observed in England.
He noted that all mushrooms are blended with each other in an extensive area. These mushrooms were thought to be a form of vegetable insects which will be ultimately demolished. Those people who want to get involved in studying such objects should be facing a fair amount of condemnation. He will be mocked by other people for being involved in such strange creatures. No other hobby is regarded as aversive as much as fungus hunting or toadstools eating.
Symptoms of Mycophobia
Symptoms of mycophobia are often found relevant to the symptoms of many other phobia out there. Anxiety is considered as a most common symptom of phobias. So, a person with mycophobia can experience an intense form of anxiety. The level of this experienced anxiety may rise to an extent where a person can be a victim of panic attacks. If a panic attack is severe in its nature a person may be hospitalised for a specialised care or treatment. However, it varies from individual to individual depending on many other vital elements. Moreover, a person suffering from mycophobia may be doing extra efforts to avoid any kind of contact with fungus or mushrooms so that they cannot come across their fear. Some other commonly found symptoms of mycophobia are, getting anxious while thinking about mushrooms, intentionally refraining to touch, smell or see mushrooms, Inability to cope with anxiety caused by mushrooms, sweating, muscles strain, shakiness, fast heartbeats and if anxiety gets intense it may cause panic attacks.
Causes of Mycophobia
Apparent causes of mycophobia are not definitive causes of mycophobia. But genetics and environmental factors may also play a role in developing mycophobia. For example, family history with a mental disorder, particularly with anxiety has high probability to develop mycophobia. If, they are likely to have this genetic problem, then it only might need them to experience some sort of traumatic event. A shocking experience which may be intruding for a person leads to the development of mycophobia. It may be a case for them that they may fall sick after being exposed to mushrooms before or after they came to know that they had a mushroom in dinner. Experiencing a traumatic event might be enough in developing the mycophobia in so far as they have the proper genetics.
Though the causes of mycophobia are still ambiguous and not fully known to researchers, still they are agreed on the fact that nature and nurture are important factors to develop a mental disorder.
Treatments for Mycophobia
No specific treatments have been developed to help people get rid of mycophobia. Few are the treatment methods which can help the people with mycophobia.
These types of medicines can help people to avoid panic attacks. Anti anxiety medicines are thought to be vital for people who are having mycophobia, as people who are suffering from this phobia often tend to face anxiety and panic attacks. Medicines for the treatment of anxiety are not used often but their quantity can be increased if a person feels that mycophobia is getting severe.
Antidepressants are also considered to be useful. As, these medications are not only designed for people who are suffering from depression but also who are facing anxiety because people with mycophobia also tend to face anxiety. Taking drugs might help in lessening the symptoms of mycophobia. These types of medicines can be used daily. These drugs can be helpful in prevention of panic attacks and anxiety as well.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Therapy
This is a plan based therapy of eight weeks which has so much to offer for the contentment of mind through training of mind and can be helpful for people to deal with their anxiety, depression and stress. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction therapy can also significantly be helpful for a person who is diagnosed with mycophobia. Mindfulness training offers meditation which is found to be extremely advantageous for people suffering from anxiety. This therapy offers a productive structure with a variety of skills which are beneficial in lessening the anxiety which is associated with mycophobia.
Meditation for Mycophobia
A variety of meditation exercises exist which are considered to be extremely beneficial for patients who are dealing with mycophobia. Especially, mindfulness training has been found to be very helpful for people to get relaxed and put their minds at ease. There are various ways to apply mindfulness meditation.
Meditation is a source of contentment for mind and it can significantly impact a person’s state of mind and help them divert their spam of thoughts from their fear to those thoughts which are constructive and productive.
To apply this meditation in order to help a patient lessen his stress and symptoms , one can do this by concentration on his breathing process and how his muscles get contracted in his abdomen and his chest contracts and focusing on being relaxed while breathing in and breathing out.
Apart from paying attention to breathing one can also be focused on the voices in surrounding, how it feels to you when you touch the objects, how food tastes and how different aromas smell. Putting attention on all five senses can be effective in reducing stress and anxiety related to mycophobia. To benefit from meditation it is important to be regularly and be persistent.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
The aim of Cognitive therapy is to assist people in the identification of their feelings related to anxiety and enabling them to change these feelings with more realistic thoughts and positive vibes.
An individual who is diagnosed with mycophobia may also be shown few examples or evidence that being in around vegetables does not necessarily mean that it can give rise to negative thoughts and can lead to negative results.
Cognitive restructuring is the part of cognitive behavioural therapy which helps the individuals suffering from mycophobia as they have developed negative thought patterns about vegetables. Moreover, many individuals do not know how capable they are of coping with such situations when they get around mushrooms. Cognitive restructuring helps to get to understand the value of countering their negative thoughts and then to change them to productive or positive thoughts which resultantly reduce stresses and avoids anxiety.
Phobias exist in the subconscious mind of a person which means that it is impossible to understand that a specific phobia is not dangerous doesn’t matter how much we tell ourselves. Our body and our mind will still react to fear. Hypnosis intends to directly get in touch with our subconscious and try to alter our thinking patterns about phobias.
Hypnosis consists of mechanisms of getting a person into a relaxed state of mind. Therapist will get into conversation with the person about mycophobia without letting him lose control of himself as long as the process of hypnosis continues. If the person is not exactly aware of the root cause of phobia then it might be a lengthy process to reach the reason behind the phobia.
As a therapist is successful in getting to know the root cause of phobia he will advance further with the treatment methods and will be applying various techniques to alter the responses of clients. This will make the client to slowly and peacefully confront the phobia while being in a normal and calm state of mind.
This is a simple and convenient method to deal with phobias.
In this method of treatment taking deep breaths can be helpful for people with mycophobia. It is very useful for managing the apparent symptoms and also it can help to manage stress and anxiety which is associated with mycophobia.
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy
Dialectical Behaviour therapy has been found to be extremely advantageous with the people who are struggling with their emotional regulation while confronting their phobias. This therapy is also useful in treating the patients suffering from borderline personality disorders. However, this is extremely beneficial for the patients who are struggling with their anxiety disorder particularly in the cases of mycophobia. The reason behind using this therapy for treatment purposes is that this therapy has to offer a variety of coping skills that one can learn and apply to deal with mycophobia. The process of treatment through dialectical behavioural therapy is lengthy and is spread over around forty eight weeks and this therapy is usually applied in groups. These groups may consist of two to several people depending on the availability of people and how many of them are willing to be a part of group therapy. Half smiling is considered to be the most powerful and extremely helpful part of this therapy. This technique is applied on a patient by making him think about the things he is afraid of or make him upset by lightly bringing a smile on the face. Thus this is referred to as half smiling. Although, in half smiling it isn’t enough to just think about fear but it is also important to curb from arising the painful emotions that may be evoked by the fear.
FAQs about mycophobia
Q1. What is phobia?
Phobia means fear. This fear is based on irrational beliefs and thoughts towards a particular object.
Q2. What is mycophobia?
Mycophobia is referred to as fear of mushrooms or fungus. A person who has developed this fear of mushrooms or fungus is likely to develop mycophobia.
Q3. What are the causes of mycophobia?
Apparently there are no such causes of mycophobia. Genetic Factors and environmental factors are likely to cause mycophobia.
Q4. What are symptoms of mycophobia?
Person with mycophobia can experience intense anxiety, fast heartbeats depression and panic attacks.
Q5. What are treatments for mycophobia?
Treatments for mycophobia are Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy, Hypnosis and Relaxation techniques.