Rhabdophobia is the fear of rods or being beaten by rods but in this article we are going to talk about Rhabdophobia as the ‘fear of wands or the fear of magick’. The word ‘rhabdo’ comes from Greek ‘stick/rod/switch’ and the word phobia is derived from Greek phobos meaning fear or deep aversion.
People with Rhabdophobia are extremely scared of spell casters, magicians and witches –in general of anything or anyone that can cast spells or bend them at their will. Some people fear illusions or even stage magicians who perform tricks. This phobia is relatively rare and those who suffer from it thankfully do not experience it on a day to day basis. Unlike other more severe and common phobias, Rhabdophobia usually won’t affect one’s day to day life. As stated above, people with Rhabdophobia might also suffer from fear of being punished or beaten with a stick or rod. This type of phobia can be severe.
Causes of Rhabdophobia
A phobia is an anxiety disorder- a fear that is out of proportion to the real danger and usually has the following causes:
- A past event– A traumatic event in the past could trigger the fear of magic. Someone who has been to a magician’s show later experienced some trauma which his/her mind links to magic is likely to suffer from such a phobia.
- Family factors– Phobias can also be picked up from family members. Very anxious or worried caregivers/parents could instill the fear of magic on young, impressionable minds.
- Genes– There is a reason why some people are more prone to developing anxiety disorders like this one.
- Response– The very fact that one responds in an embarrassing manner to one’s fear further fuels this phobia. People around you might react strongly to your fear which could cause you to become even more anxious about it.
- Stress– Chronic persistent stress is the number one factor that causes majority of anxiety disorders including phobias. Over time, stress could cause you to doubt your ability of coping to a particular situation which, in turn, causes you to fear that situation.
Often, none of the above might be responsible for one’s phobia and the patient may have to work out a solution to finding specific reason behind it. If you happen to fear magic to the point that you are unable to even withstand talking or thinking about it, then over time, your fear could worsen. This could lead you to experience extreme difficulty in facing your fear. A professional is your best bet in helping you overcome such a situation.
Symptoms of fear of magic
Different people experience fear differently. Like in the case of other common social or complex phobias, Rhabdophobia can produce various symptoms. Broadly speaking, we can differentiate the symptoms into two main categories- physical and psychological. These can vary in severity and some people could experience them strongly just by thinking about magic. Here are the different symptoms experienced by phobic:
- Trembling, shaking
- Feeling dizzy or faint
- Accelerated heart rate
- Hot, cold flashes
- Shortness of breath
- Nausea, vomiting
- Tightness in the chest
- Feeling of choking
- Feeling out of touch with reality
- Fear of losing control
- Thoughts of death or dying
- Fear of embarrassing oneself
Sometimes, very severe phobia might trigger a panic attack in the individual. Experiencing this could be embarrassing and could even be frightening. The patient could get severely stressed simply thinking about the fear. This, in turn, could lead to thoughts of depression. Often, people with severe Rhabdophobia tend to avoid situations involving magic. They try to avoid people as well which could lead to isolation and social withdrawal. Avoiding something sometimes makes it worse, and this is especially true in phobias.
Treatment for Rhabdophobia
There are various things one can take up in order to overcome one’s fear of magic.
- Talk therapy– You can start by talking to someone you trust. If there is no one, you could seek professional counseling. Group therapy can also help-your counselor can guide you to peer groups or support groups online.
- Manage panic and anxiety-Relaxation techniques can help. Learn to practice deep breathing when you are faced with a situation that triggers your symptoms.
- Self help books-These are available online and offline. They are based on principles of CBT or Cognitive Behavior Therapy.
Your physician can guide you about the types of treatments available for severe fear of magic phobia.
CBT or Cognitive Behavior Therapy
CBT identifies connections between thoughts, feelings and behavior. A CBT therapist can help you manage your thought patterns that cause the phobia. CBT is often combined with desensitization therapy where you may be gradually exposed to the fear.
In this treatment for Rhabdophobia, you are gradually and safely exposed to the object of your fear (magic or wands), so that, through repeated experiences, you feel increased control over your fear.
A trained hypnotherapist could take you to your past to determine the root cause of your fear. This, in turn, can help you cope better with situations.
This is usually the last line of treatment since medicines for anxiety disorders mostly include tranquilizers and antidepressants which can lead to chemical dependency. They even come with adverse side effects like extreme drowsiness etc.
Having a phobia can be challenging for both the sufferer as well as her/his family or friends. However, thanks to the treatments available today, one need not live with it. We hope the above brief guide helps you cope with Rhabdophobia and overcome it once and for all.