Theophobia: Fear of God or Religion- Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
Faith and spirituality may be an inseparable component of people’s lives. But the story may not be same for everyone. There are people who are extremely fearful of god and religion. The person may completely cut off from any activity related with religion, god and spirituality.
Theophobia has been derived from Greek word “Theo” meaning god or deity. It is signified by unexplainable and intense fear of god, with major display of avoidance behavior. The person may be unreasonably repulsive and avoids all kind of spiritual activities. The person may even not make any interaction with other people believing in religion.
What Causes Theophobia?
Major causes that might be causing Theophobia in people are:
A person who has been brought up under a strict religious environment, and extensively taught about how lord or god can punish upon bad deeds might instill this kind of unexpected phobia. The person may not fear god directly, but scared of the wrath of the god if he/she does anything wrong according to the religion. Such kind of religious conjecture might cause Theophobia in many people.
Any distressful incident such as grade failures, or being unsuccessful in work and relationship that has been linked with “god’s punishment” can created the fear of god. The person may start believing that every distress has been caused by god, and starts dreading one.
The Symptoms of Theophobia
Common symptoms that can occur with anyone having Theophobia are:
- Persistent, intense and unexplainable fear of god and religion or anything related with it
- Constant thoughts about god or god’s wrath
- Avoidance from houses or temples having god image, worshipping or religious interactions
- Immediate repulsion and ignoring any religious activity and talk
- Agitation upon religious encounters
- Panic attacks upon religious encounters
- Physical symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, dizziness, sweating, increased heart beat, trembling, crying, frequent urination and abdominal uneasiness
When to Visit a doctor?
Theophobia can be a real problem if the person needs to live around other people who actually are religiously active and strong believers. In such cases, the person needs to take help from a doctor. Moreover, if the above symptoms have been occurring for more than six months and created hassle in the daily living of the person, one should opt to start the treatment process.
How is Theophobia Treated?
Theophobia can be majorly treated using:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is mainly used for the treatment of Theophobia. The major cause for Theophobia can be resulting from disbeliefs and misunderstanding of god or religion. The therapist conducts counseling sessions to understand what, how and why a person has developed this fear. The major aim of CBT is to recognize such negative thoughts and images within a person, and replace them with positive ones.
Alongside, the therapist may also practice some religious and spiritual sessions to help the person build resistance over the fear and anxiety.
Medicines are used only in rare and intense cases of Theophobia. Anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medicines are used to control the phobic symptoms to some extent.