Dinophobia: symptoms, causes and treatment
This phobia of vertigo makes some people not dare to approach safe places.
Phobias considered rare are those phobias that are infrequent, or of which we have never heard of... Perhaps this is what happens to you with dinophobiawhich consists of a phobia of the sensation of vertigo and/or dizziness (not to be confused, however, with a phobia of heights).
In this article we will see what exactly this phobia consists of, as well as its associated symptoms, some of its possible causes and treatments that can be applied.
Dinophobia: what is it?
The dinophobia is the phobia to the vertigo and/or to the dizziness. This phobia should not be confused with the fear of heights (acrophobia), since in dinophobia the phobic object is vertigo, not heights (which would be one of the causes of vertigo).
It is thus a question of a specific phobia (a type of anxiety disorder), categorized as such in the current DSM-5 (Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). (Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders).
Thus, in dinophobia there is a disproportionate, intense and irrational fear of feeling vertigo or dizziness. What is also feared are the sensations associated with this physiological state; for example, feeling that the body goes on one side and the head on the other, feeling short of breath, feeling that everything around you is moving/staggering, losing balance, lack of stability, etc.
Dinophobia, in reality, is a rare phobia; that is, it is an uncommon phobia. It is much more common, for example, acrophobia (phobia of heights).
Vertigo consists of an objective sensation of movement, of spinning of the environment or of oneself. It is also related to a sensation of "rushing into a vacuum" (even if this does not actually exist). The sensation of vertigo does not only appear when we are in high places, but can also appear in a panic disorder, for example.
This altered psychophysiological state is related to an alteration in the vestibular system (related to balance, posture and spatial control), which is located in the ear. In addition, the sensation of vertigo is very unpleasant and can cause intense fear, so it is logical that this sensation can end up originating a phobia such as dinophobia.
On the other hand, vertigo may be accompanied by other symptoms, such as a feeling of imminent fainting, loss of balance and/or nausea.
How long can the vertigo sensation last? It depends on its trigger, etiology... but generally from minutes to days. Vertigo can affect any person (we must differentiate it, however, from dinophobia itself), although the most frequent ages of onset are between 40-50 years of age and from 70 years of age onwards.
Relationship with other phobias
As a curious fact, it has been related the dinophobia with other types of phobia, in this case phobias to more abstract objectssuch as eternity or infinity (apeirophobia).
An evolutionary sense...?
Like many other phobias, the dinophobia could also have, etiologically, an evolutionary sense.... That is to say, our ancestors could have feared this sensation of vertigo by relating it to possible damage or traumatic events.
As a result, we may have "inherited", to some extent, this type of phobia. The same happens with phobias of a more Biological type, such as phobia of heights (acrophobia), snakes (ophidiophobia), spiders (arachnophobia), etc.
Symptoms associated with dinophobia are as follows.
1. Intense fear of vertigo
The main symptom of dinophobia, as with any specific phobia, is an intense, irrational and disproportionate fear of a specific phobic object (in this case, vertigo and/or dizziness). This fear can be triggered by stimuli reminiscent of the sensation of vertigo, or it can simply appear without a stimulus.or simply appear without a triggering stimulus.
2. Physiological symptoms
Let us remember that specific phobias are anxiety disorders. All of them involve physiological symptoms such as: dizziness, vertigo, sensation of shortness of breath, tachycardia, sweating, tremors...
In the case of dinophobia, these are the same symptoms (causally, one of them is the dizziness/dizziness itself).
In order to diagnose a phobia as such, the symptoms must cause interference in the person's day to day lifea. Although it is true that there are some phobias that do not interfere with daily functioning, because the phobic stimulus is not found in everyday life (think, for example, of snakes, living in a city...). So the same can happen with dinophobia (although, let us remember, a triggering stimulus is not always necessary for the symptoms of dinophobia to occur).
Another important symptom of dinophobia is the discomfort that the phobia itself causes, since the person may be limited in their daily life by the constant fear of vertigo.
Phobias can have many causes, although the most common cause is a traumatic event. the most common cause is a traumatic event.. In the case of dinophobia, the person may have experienced a traumatic situation related to these bodily sensations (vertigo or dizziness), as well as to bridges, heights, airplanes....
Thus, the fact of experiencing a situation of these characteristics (with a great emotional charge associated), can be enough to develop dinophobia. This also includes cases where such a situation is not directly experienced, but is heard to be talked about, seen in other people (vicarious conditioning), etc.
In addition, once the symptoms of dinophobia are experienced, the following is often the case: the following occurs a terrible fear of reliving these symptoms, which turns the disorder into a vicious circle that is difficult to escape without treatment. difficult to escape without treatment.
The treatment of dinophobia, at the psychological level, includes two main options: exposure therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy (can be used together, although exposure therapy usually already includes cognitive-behavioral techniques). (they can be used together, although usually exposure therapy already includes cognitive-behavioral techniques).
Let us remember that exposure therapy is the most effective treatment for specific phobias, as shown by several studies. Cognitive-behavioral therapy also offers very good results.
Exposure therapy involves exposure to the phobic stimulus, gradually (through a hierarchy of items). The objective is that the patient "overcomes" increasingly difficult items until he/she is able to face the phobic situation without the need to escape from it. without the need to escape from it.
For this purpose, the patient is often trained in coping strategies that can be used when feeling high levels of anxiety, such as breathing, relaxation or positive imagery. On the other hand, cognitive-behavioral therapy essentially includes cognitive restructuring, which aims to "restructure" the patient's catastrophic thoughts in relation to vertigo and its associated symptoms, in order to replace them with more functional, realistic and adaptive ones.
That is to say, with phobias there are often cognitive distortions and irrational thoughts that should be combated; this is also the case with dinophobia. Therefore, cognitive behavioral therapy has the mission of offering the patient tools to be able to detect such thoughts, in order to subsequently modify them.
- American Psychiatric Association -APA- (2014). DSM-5. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. Madrid: Panamericana.
- Caballo (2002). Manual for cognitive-behavioral treatment of psychological disorders. Vol. 1 and 2. Siglo XXI (Chapters 1-8, 16-18).
- Derebery, M.J. (2000). Diagnosis and treatment of vertigo. Revista Cubana de Medicina, 39(4): 238-53.
- López, A. (2005). Specific phobias. Faculty of Psychology. Departament de Personalitat, Avaluació i Tractament Psicològics.
(Updated at Mar 28 / 2023)