Basophobia refers to the fear of not being able to stand up or walk. The term is derived from the root word bas, which means ‘stepping’ in Greek. People who suffer from this condition experience a lot of anxiety about falling and its consequences, even if they haven’t fallen. If you know anyone who suffers from this condition, then it is important that you help them understand it better to improve their quality of life.
Phobias tend to originate from a combination of traumatic events and genetic predispositions. In most cases, the phobia can be traced back to a specific trigger event in childhood or the recent past. “People who have had a leg fracture or limb paralysis tend to suffer from this phobia. They do not consider themselves capable of standing up and walking, and the very idea gives them a lot of anxiety,” says Dr Shweta Sharma, clinical psychologist, Columbia Asia Hospital Gurugram.
People who suffer from arthritis, tendinitis, and bursitis also have an instinctual fear of walking as it causes them a lot of pain.
As is the case with any other phobia, the symptoms tend to vary depending on the intensity of the fear the person is experiencing. The condition is characterised by debilitating anxiety, dreadfulness and symptoms that are closely associated with panic, such as rapid breathing, shortness of breath, sweating, irregular heartbeat, dry mouth, nausea, and an inability to articulate feelings.
If you wait for the fear to cure itself, then it’s not going to happen. You have to be proactive in your approach if you want to get a grip on the fear. Based on studies, there are certain practices that have been shown to be effective at getting rid of the fear of falling.
*If you have not exercised in a long time, then the fear of falling and injuring yourself is not going to abate. Exercises are perfectly structured, repetitive activities that are designed to improve the overall fitness. Any exercise that helps you improve your strength, balance, training, and resistance is perfect if you are suffering from basophobia.
*Educate yourself on the condition with the help of a good psychiatrist. A lot of people over the age of 65 tend to develop this phobia, and many of them have been able to control their fear once they get proper counseling and guidance.
*Visit your general physician and have him/her review the list of medications you are on. This includes any over-the-counter medication as well. Some medicines increase your likelihood of falling, and changing them is a great way to get a lead on the condition.
*Do not stay away from activities that make you happy just because you are afraid of falling down. You can start by doing them in moderation. For instance, if you like going for a walk in the local park, do it, but limit the first outing to just 15 minutes and make sure that there is someone to accompany you. Once you feel comfortable, you can slowly increase the duration of the activity.
*Physiotherapy and psychological counseling gives a lot of people the confidence to stand up and walk. The support and assurance of family members also goes a long way in making patients feel secure and confident enough to start walking again.
As with any phobia, it is necessary that people who suffer from it be treated with utmost empathy and understanding. If you get confrontational, there is a good chance that they will withdraw into a shell, and it will get all the more difficult for them to open up and start considering regimens that will make their condition better.