Have you ever experienced fear or anxiety related to buildings, vehicles, or other giant things, places, or concepts? If so, you may be experiencing megalophobia, a specific phobia recognized by the American Psychiatric Association. If you experience this, know that you are not alone.
Megalophobia is an anxiety disorder related to stress or anxiety around large items, as defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. For example, some people may avoid airports because the size of airplanes makes them feel sick. Others may feel uncomfortable around large statues, the ocean, or boats, avoiding large objects like tall buildings and big animals. Some individuals may fear watching fantasy films with giant robots, monsters, or planets.
Regardless of the specific triggers, megalophobia can be a serious phobia that may cause fear or prevent someone from living life to the fullest. Treatment for specific phobias is available and often effective. To manage an intense fear, seeking proper treatment, such as exposure therapies or support groups, is crucial for improving everyday life.
What is megalophobia?
Megalophobia is a phobia or the fear of large objects. People experiencing megalophobia may experience anxiety related to certain things much larger than they are, from something the size of a boat to a skyscraper. Therefore, one of the most common signs of megalophobia is feeling nervous and scared after viewing, thinking, or talking about large things.
If you believe you may be experiencing a phobia, you may want to seek treatment from a mental health professional. Phobias must have adverse impacts on your daily life, level of functioning, or general mood.
If you feel slightly uncomfortable when viewing an image of a large building, you may not have a phobia. However, if you avoid cities and giant statues or have panic attacks when you view photos of them, you may have a phobia. A mental health professional may help you determine what you are experiencing and address the underlying cause.
Phobias can feel confusing, and there may be some overlap with other phobias. For example, you might be afraid of large animals and have a specific phobia of a particular animal. Once a specific phobia is diagnosed, a therapist may tailor the most effective treatment options, such as first line treatment like exposure therapy or medications, to that area.
What are the symptoms of megalophobia?
People with megalophobia may experience various mental and physical symptoms when dealing with large objects. Some of the following symptoms may be experienced:
- Feeling sweaty
- Shakiness or tremors
- Upset stomach and nausea
- Heart palpitations
- Hyperventilation and shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Panic attacks
- Intense feelings of stress and terror
As these symptoms persist, a person with megalophobia may develop other mental health conditions due to their phobia, such as depression or anxiety, which often co-exist. Maintaining physical health is essential in managing these concerns.
If additional problems have already developed, you may want to reach out for support. Mental health counselors, such as those practicing clinical psychology, often have experience in treating multiple concerns. Joining a support group or trying relaxation techniques like deep breathing can also be helpful in managing symptoms and fostering resilience.
What causes megalophobia?
Megalophobia may develop because of a stressful or traumatic event in your life involving a large object. This may cause an individual to associate large objects with stress or trauma in the future, turning them into a feared object.
Although psychologists, including experts at the Cleveland Clinic, do not know the exact cause of phobias, it is assumed that genetic and environmental factors can play a role. Processing the potential cause of your phobia may help you understand the root of your fears, which can be the first step in overcoming them.
How do I overcome megalophobia?
You may benefit from talking to a mental health professional to overcome megalophobia instead of treating it alone. If you push yourself too far in trying or experience a scary moment while facing a large object, it may become more challenging to make progress.
With that in mind, several professional treatment options are available for phobias. If your condition is severe, your therapist may suggest medication to reduce anxiety symptoms as you work through your fears. Always consult with your doctor before starting any medication.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
A therapist may help you pinpoint the cognitive fallacies you may have and help you replace your fears with more realistic thoughts. Research has shown that CBT is an effective treatment of phobias.
Systematic desensitization or exposure therapy
With an exposure approach, you’ll be exposed to your fears via imaginary and real situations to reduce your symptoms over time. Exposure therapy may help you bring your base levels of awareness and reality back to normal by helping you learn that a perceived threat is not always a threat.
Along with your regular course of therapy, a therapist may teach you relaxation techniques to help you feel more comfortable around the objects you fear when you’re out in the world. Research has shown that a combination of CBT and relaxation techniques can effectively reduce symptoms of anxiety associated with phobias.
With the help of an online therapist, you may learn to be around large objects without experiencing anxiety. Studies have shown that online therapy is effective in treating prolonged exposure to stress and anxiety.
Online therapy may feel comfortable for you if you’re nervous about leaving the house to see a therapist. You can talk to a professional far from anything in an environment where you may be able to reduce the triggers of your phobia.
If you’re ready to try online therapy, consider reaching out to a counselor on a platform like BetterHelp. You will get to choose from a vast database of online counselors with experience in common concerns such as phobias, trauma disorders, and anxiety disorders.
Megalophobia and other types of phobias may feel overwhelming at times. If you hope to get support from someone who can provide professional coping mechanisms and research-based therapy methods, consider reaching out to a compassionate counselor.