Symptoms: Friends of the Fear
Every case of fear of being smothered is a little different.
Why? Because the core of the problem – the patterns of thinking, the images, movies, sounds and dialog that are internally associated with choking or being smothered – are different in each person.
But while the 'internal representations' as they are called are different from person to person there are a number of symptoms which are common to many pnigerophobes:
- A feeling of uncontrollable anxiety when you think about or are exposed to choking or being smothered
- The feeling that you must do everything possible to avoid choking or being smothered
- The inability to function normally because of your anxiety
- Often, the knowledge that your fears are unreasonable or exaggerated but feeling powerless to control them
Pnigerophobic symptoms can be mental, emotional and physical. The anxiety and fear can go from mild feelings of apprehension to a full-blown panic attack.
Typically, the closer you are to what you’re afraid of, the greater your fear will be. You can test the severity of your problem with this 2-minute online fear of being smothered test.
But because the fear is a physical response to patterns of thinking about choking or being smothered and not the actual choking or being smothered almost all people with fear of being smothered can create a very strong reaction just by using their mind.
> For help chaging these patterns of thinking, read this article How to Overcome Fear of Being Smothered.
- Obsessive Thoughts
- Difficulty thinking about anything other than the fear
- Really bad images and/or movies of choking or being smothered
- Feelings of unreality or of being detached from yourself
- Fear of losing control or going crazy
- Fear of fainting
- Anticipatory Anxiety: Persistent worrying about upcoming events that involve choking or being smothered
- Terror: A persistent and overwhelming fear of the same
- Desire to Flee: An intense instinct to leave the situation (which is tough when its purely in the mind)
While not generally experienced at the same time as fear of being smothered episode, we find that overall when they think about their past, most clients have elevated levels of one or more of:
- Anger, Sadness, Fear, Hurt & Guilt
- Dizziness, shaking, palpitations.
- Shortness of breath or smothering sensation
- Palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Trembling or shaking
- Feeling of choking
- Nausea or stomach distress
- Feeling unsteady, dizzy, lightheaded, or faint
- Numbness or tingling sensations
- Hot or cold flashes
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