Samhainophobia is the extreme and unwarranted fear of Halloween. The ancient people of western Europe, also known as the Celts, believed that at the eve one of their festivals, the wall separating the living from the dead becomes permeable by the dead.
So, the dead can cross over to the land of living on the day of the festival and would make their presence known by threatening the townspeople.
The Celts took it upon themselves to wear costumes and around bonfires to chase them off, thus the origins of Halloween celebration.
The term Halloween was initially known as “All Hallows Eve,” which originated from the word ‘Samhuin’ with Irish-Scottish-Gaelic (ancient Europe) roots, which also means ‘summer’s end.’
Although in this modern time, some people do not believe in ghosts crossing over from the spirit world to our world, they also see the need for Halloween to be still celebrated.
However, while Halloween is a celebration of culture, art, and spookiness to some people, they are people who are overtly worrisome and fearful about this event.
Causes of Samhainophobia
There is no known cause of any phobia; however, there are contributing factors that lead to the development of phobias.
Samhainophobia can develop as a result of a range of factors which are:
The presence of other phobias
The presence of other phobias can lead to the development of samhainophobia.
Considering the fact that Halloweens are made of the combination of spooky, triumphant, and culture where children, teens, and adults dress up in artistic costumes, which most are relatively scary, including; vampire costumes, witch costumes, werewolves costumes, zombies costumes, etc.
Preexisting phobias such as fear of the dark, fear of witches, fear of vampires, fear of ghosts, etc. may repeatedly get you triggered till you develop samhainophobia.
Because Halloween is celebrated at night, a child with the fear of the dark may not appreciate Halloween; coupled with others, scary costumes, decorations, and discussion may plant fear of Halloween in the child.
Most phobias are developed by trauma caused by an awful experience. Most people do not appreciate it when being started, and at this time of the year, it is the time most people find startling and scaring people fun.
However, a few people do not get over this, and part of those people are children who may not outgrow this. Some horror stories and other frightening events can result in the development of samhainophobia if the child does not outgrow the fear.
Heredity or genetics
Fearful genes are also included in the genetic makeup of an individual, and once there is an ancestor that has had a particular phobia. These genes may be dominant or recessive; either way, they are likely to manifest somewhere in the family tree.
The environment plays a crucial role in a person’s growth and well-being; when a child grows up in a situation that encourages the fear of Halloween or paints Halloween in a troubling way, the child is at a higher risk of being diagnosed of this condition soon.
A child that grew up in a family with a family member suffering from this condition or in an environment with some close individuals suffering from this condition can have the child develop samhainophobia.
Experts believe that phobias are significant as a result of the combination of traumatic experience and heredity.
Symptoms of Samhainophobia
Having Samhainophobia comes with a range of symptoms which can be awful and are different across individual depending on the severity of the phobia.
These symptoms can affect a person physically and psychologically, and they manifest even at the mere thought of anything relating to Halloween. They are:
- Extreme anxiety,
- The feeling of dread and terror
- Shortness of breath
- Increased heartbeat
- Excessive sweating
- Cold or hot flashes
- Inability to speak well
- Chest pain
- Tingling sensation
The severity of these symptoms and the level of fear are increased by the sight of Halloween theme decorations or stores with ghosts, witches, clowns, and monsters’ costumes displays.
These symptoms are what make the sufferer avoid anything relating to Halloween, including hearing of it. This condition is believed to be highly associated with other phobias.
That is, samhainophobia can result in the development of fear of the dark, vampires, witches, etc. Making the individual suffer from what we call “Complex phobia.”
A complex phobia is the intertwining of many phobias increasing the likelihood of the individual getting triggered.
Because this holiday comes once a year, but people start talking about it even months before and won’t keep shut even months after.
A samhainophobic needs to be treated as soon as possible to allow the individual to enjoy the magic of the season alongside others to avoid developing into a complex phobia and to enable the individual to carry out their daily plans without getting triggered by the mere mentioning of anything relating to Halloween.
There quite a several tips to help someone with a mild case of samhainophobia to recover and they are:
All the tips for coping with mild cases of samhainophobia are under this.
- Reading and getting quality knowledge about the history and the actual meaning of the holiday may help in desensitizing you as you would come across several images and relating terms. Who knows, you might get fascinated and love Halloween
- Positive visualization will help you see that you can go through the holiday without getting triggered. You can do this by visualizing yourself, making a discussion about Halloween, or the actual day of Halloween.
- Mindfully taking deep breaths to calm your nerves
- Tagging along with supportive friends and family to help you go through the day unbeaten
But then, if your condition is severe, you may need to see a mental health expert for professional help.
These are trained individuals in the field psychology, and with their knowledge and finesse skills, they will help you identify the source of your problem and tackle it from there.
They can also equip you with skills to help you pull through a potential trigger without coming down with a panic attack.
They also adopt systematic and organized desensitization to make you feel fewer anxiety reactions whenever you come in contact with anything relating to Halloween.
They are also licensed to prescribe medications that can help you control the symptoms accompanying samhainophobia, but these medications should be followed strictly by the prescriptions.
Fortunately, samhainophobia responds well to therapy, and with the right approaches, you will be free from the fears in no need.
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