The fear of change or changing things is called Metathesiophobia and is most commonly linked with Tropophobia (the fear of moving).
The origin of the word Metathesiophobia hails from Greek words- meta meaning change and phobos meaning fear.
This phobia, being specific, have the tendency to tamper down the phobics will to live. These lead the phobic to develop feelings of loss of control over their lives due to the inevitable changes. S/he becomes depressed and tries hard to avert change. Their phobia makes them lax and reduces the intensity of their progress or to change anything from their normal routine. This can severely affect ones professional and personal lives in a negative way.
Causes of Metathesiophobia.
The fear of change is evolutionary and normal in humans. Since times immemorial, man has liked routine, as it helps us escape the fear of anything we cannot deal with or are not used to.
But the normal fear of change becomes a full blown phobia when it is irrational, persistent and very intense.
Our internal predispositions, basically heredity and genetics, teach us to resist change mainly to always feel in control
Other causes of Metathesiophobia include;
* Personal emotional distress caused by many life changes can trigger such a fear of change. A child who has experienced moving multiple times in short periods of time or the death of a family member or loved one might also have experienced changes in financial situations or lifestyle owing to these changes. This can lead him/her to resist change of any type even in adulthood.
* Fear of being unable to adapt, fear of meeting new people or fear of environmental changes can also deter ones adaptability. Insecurity and guilt are other common emotions behind Metathesiophobia.
Symptoms of the fear of change phobia.
As explained before, the fear of change is a natural survival instinct ingrained in human psyche. However, in case extreme cases of Metathesiophobia, life can become very difficult.
Like many other phobias, Metathesiophobia is also accompanied by psychological and physical symptoms:
and they include;
* The prospect of change or adapting to new environment may lead to a full blow panic or anxiety attack.
* The phobic may experience a few or all of the following symptoms: (1) heart palpitations, (2) rapid or shallow breathing, (3) shaking/trembling, (4) sweating, (5) nausea or gastrointestinal distress, (6) inability to form words, (7) dry mouth, (9) thoughts of death, choking, and extreme dread.
* Avoidance of change is another symptom of Metathesiophobia. He creates his comfort zone and is unwilling to come out of it.
* For avoiding change, s/he may go to great lengths, break ties, tell lies or make excuses. This can affect his/her social, personal and professional life.
Treating And Overcoming Metathesiophobia.
Consciously re-learning new behavior to overcome the association that change is bad is effective, though difficult.
* The root of Metathesiophobia is deeply embedded in ones psyche. To trace the roots, one can undergo hypnotherapy sessions. These can help the individual face the source of his anxiety and relearn or erase negative thoughts associated with it.
* Once the roots of the anxiety are traced, one can also use gradual exposure to changes: this can slowly help one break away from the association between change (stimulus) and the reaction to it (response). Gradual desensitization of this sort is very effective in making the individual feel more in control when faced with a change.
* Neuro linguistic programming and behavior therapies can also help overcome Metathesiophobia.
* Group therapy, talk therapy, writing down negative and positive thoughts etc are some other techniques that can be used for rationalizing ones fear.
This phobia is really tough for the victims who are affected by it. It can destroy relationships and only way this can be treated is for the victim to be receptive and open to treatment and from there, the physiologist can apply treatments and try approaches to reduce the intensity and finally cure the phobia.