Updated: September 6, 2019 12:33:18 pm
Fear is something that often inhibits a person, rather than uplifting him/her; and while most of it is insignificant, it can, at times, escalate to scary proportions as phobias are of grave nature, stopping people from performing daily activities. This can prove to have consequences as one’s professional and private life may get hampered, blurring reality and the exaggerated.
All about Arithmophobia
“Also known as Numerophobia, it is often an exaggerated, constant and irrational fear of numbers that can affect one’s daily routine. Performing complex mathematical computations becomes a herculean task, with individuals stuttering and sloughing through the ups and downs of number. In fact, just the thought of doing calculations in day-to-day life could potentially escalate into a meltdown,” explains Dr Preeti Singh, senior clinical psychologist, Paras Hospital Gurugram.
While experts believe that the fear of numbers might have its roots in universal beginnings, it has more to do with the alleged nature and people’s perceptions towards it. It is often believed that numbers and time are complex, unknown, varying and often difficult to grasp, creating an aura of mystery.
“This also has origins from our childhood, often combined with a negative experience with numbers. Math is considered as one of the most important subjects, with parents putting undue pressure on students to excel in the same. This added stress inculcates a fear of numbers with the implications of failing or performing poorly in the subject being ridicule and scoldings in some cases. Statements like ‘math is hard, you will fail if you do not study’ often do worse than helping the child, triggering Arithmophobia,” says Dr Singh.
Signs to see
No matter how diverse the phobia is, its symptoms are fairly similar in nature and occurrence. Extreme anxiety, dread and anything associated with panic such as shortness of breath, rapid breathing, irregular heartbeat, excessive sweating, nausea, dry mouth, inability to articulate words or sentences, and shaking being some common symptoms.
This phobia is especially damaging as one has to involve in a fair number of mathematic calculation in everyday life. Sufferers are often socially inept, as people who are good with numbers consider this issue as an insignificant one. Which is why, it can even lead to stunted social growth and a constant inferiority complex.
The cure is near
As symptoms of almost all phobias are same, the cure is similar too — usually based on the psyche of the human mind. For all phobias, the magic word remains the same — therapy. These are fast and reliable methods, relying on an amalgamation of drugs and psychotherapy — but it is essential to administer caution.
“Drugs are addictive in nature and can often become a crutch for the ailing. Hence these should be considered as the last line of treatment. Mild anti-depressants should be administered only in extreme cases of anxiety. Secondly, psychotherapy should be administered by someone who is a thorough professional. One can also apply Neuro-Linguistic programming therapy to overcome this phobia by reprogramming the brain’s response to numbers and increasing one’s confidence,” she says.
However, the will to overcome the phobia should come from within, where understanding the issue is the first step. “Always remember- you are the master of your mind and you can overcome your phobia effectively,” she adds.
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