Phobias are extreme fears of certain objects, people, animals, activities, or situations that in reality aren’t very dangerous but still cause worry and avoidant behaviors.
While most people experience anxiety from time to time, some phobias cause long-lasting and serious physical and psychological effects.
These effects can be so severe that it becomes much more challenging to perform daily, routine tasks like going to school or work. Phobias can affect adults and children alike.
Aichmophobia is a phobia of sharp, pointed objects. Those affected by aichmophobia will feel anxious, worried, and fearful around any object that is sharp and could cause harm. This could include pencils, pens, needles, pins, scissors, and other common household items.
Aichmophobia is similar to other types of phobia, including trypanophobia and belonephobia. However, people with trypanophobia solely fear needles and medical procedures involving needles. People with belonephobia fear pins and needles specifically, while people with aichmophobia fear many types of sharp, pointed objects.
An estimated 10 million people in the United States are affected by phobias. For some people, fears are manageable annoyances that get triggered from time to time, such as when one has to fly on a plane or get blood drawn.
For people with phobias, these situations cause paralyzing fear that disrupts life. If a fear of sharp, pointed objects is interfering with your ability to function normally, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor, who may be able to refer you to an appropriate mental health professional.
When you’re being evaluated for aichmophobia, they’ll ask you about your symptoms and take your social, medical, and psychiatric history.
They may refer to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual on Mental Disorders (DSM-5). New studies are now being done on how imaging tests such as PET scans and MRIs may be able to shed light on how brain structure might be linked to having certain phobias.
Like other specific phobias, the most commonly used type of treatment for aichmophobia is a type of psychotherapy called exposure therapy. Exposure therapy works by helping you change your response to sharp, pointed objects so you fear them less.
You might begin your exposure therapy sessions by first looking at photos of knives, then being in the same room as a knife, then holding a knife, and then using a knife to cut food. Scientists have recently begun exploring the potential of virtual reality in helping expose people with phobias to their fears in a safe and controlled way.
Another common psychotherapy treatment for aichmophobia is cognitive behavioral therapy, which involves exposing a person to the phobia while teaching coping techniques. These coping techniques can help you think of your aichmophobia and how it affects you in a less stressful way.
In many cases, psychotherapy alone is successful in helping to treat aichmophobia. But in some cases, it’s necessary to prescribe medications that reduce feelings of anxiety or panic so you can temporarily cope with your fear while getting treatment. Usually these medications are short term for especially challenging situations.
Some commonly prescribed medications for aichmophobia include:
- Beta blockers. Medications that stop the bodily effects of stress that affect the body during exposure to a phobia. Some common bodily effects include increased heart rate and blood pressure, a shaking voice, and weak limbs.
- Sedatives. Also called benzodiazepines, these can help you relax by reducing your anxiety. These medications should be used with caution as they tend to be addictive. Benzodiazepines may not be right for people with a history of drug or alcohol dependence.
home care for phobias
- mindfulness practices such as meditation
- relaxation techniques such as yoga, deep breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation
- physical activity and exercise, which is known to manage the anxiety associated with aichmophobia and other phobias
The goal of treatment is to boost your quality of life by reducing your fear. It can be empowering to feel control over your reactions to sharp objects.
If you continue to have trouble, you may want to consider reaching out for more help. Self-help or support groups can help connect you to others who are also experiencing difficulty coping with their aichmophobia.
With treatment, most people become less anxious and fearful around sharp objects. The type and length of treatment largely depends on the severity of your phobia. Some people need longer or more intensive treatment than others. Talk to your mental health provider if you feel that your aichmophobia is worsening instead of improving over time.
When working to treat your aichmophobia, try not to avoid situations even if they scare you. Use your therapy sessions to work on developing coping techniques when your phobia feels overwhelming.
It’s also important to take good care of yourself by eating healthfully and staying active, as being healthy can reduce your anxiety. In fact, researchers have found that sleep seems to greatly reduce anxiety associated with certain phobias. Avoiding caffeine and other stimulants can also be helpful in keeping your anxiety at bay.
If you notice aichmophobia or another phobia in your child, see their primary care provider who may make a referral to a mental healthcare provider. You can help your child cope by being open about talking about fears and trying not to reinforce their specific phobias by encouraging them to try to get through situations that challenge them.
Lastly, try to model positive behavior by showing how to best respond when confronted by something fearful. Acknowledge the fear and then show them how to work through it.
Aichmophobia is a specific phobia in which people fear sharp, pointed objects. Because these objects appear everywhere from the kitchen to the classroom, it can be a more challenging phobia to conquer.
Many people learn to live with aichmophobia and successfully develop coping techniques that reduce their anxiety and stress. A mental healthcare provider can outline the right treatment plan to meet your needs. With the right treatment, it’s possible to overcome aichmophobia.