How to Deal with Scelerophobia (fear of burglars)?

Everyone wants to feel secure and safe, but different people may react differently to situations especially adverse ones. The crime rate around the world has been on the rise and criminals keep trying to find a way around the safety measures their target has taken. You must take all necessary measures within your power to ensure your own security, that of your loved ones and anything that holds value for you. Sometimes though, fear may lead to a psychological condition where it overwhelms your rationality. One such fear of our age is scelerophobia; excessive fear of bad men or burglars, etc.

Causes 

Psychologists agree that childhood experiences can have a long lasting effect on a person. A Traumatic experience related to witnessing burglary or any other crime in your childhood could be the underlying cause for your condition.

If you are living in a crime prone vicinity where burglary cases have been on the rise or other disturbing crimes have occurred, it is highly probable that your excessive fear is a result of this.

Media exposure also plays a part in developing this phobia. If you watch too much news or crime movies you will become more aware of such incidents, maybe more than you should. Too much information pertaining to violence and aggression can at times also cause unnecessary fear and suspicion.

The phobia can also be a result of your genetics. Scientists state that the experiences of our ancestors are embedded deep in our brain and we react partly because of these ancient experiences. Your brain cells also known as neurons release chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin. They are called neurotransmitters and a decline of these chemicals can result in increased anxiety.

Age and gender also are very important factors. Old people tend to be more conscious of their environment and at times overcautious due to their age and health. Women tend to be more scared than men partly because the crime rate against women is much higher than that against men.

Consequences

Scelerophobia may be more common than we think and we all might have some degree of it, but extreme cases would be such that the mere thought of a burglar makes you go bonkers and creates so much anxiety for you that it may result in a panic attack. That implies, an increased heart rate, hypertension, excessive sweating, trembling and muscle tension. 

It is common for people to avoid what they fear. In the case of extreme Scelerophobia you may end up avoiding hanging out with your friends or going out on your own especially when it is dark. This will obviously affect your social life and relationships. It will also make it difficult for you going out during the night on your own even in an emergency situation.

Depending on the level of Scelerophobia you may end up having sleepless nights. This irrational fear has the tendency to keep you turning in your bed or stay up all night. Especially if you live alone this could prove to be extremely detrimental to your mental and psychological health. If the frequency of these reactions increase then it may turn into insomnia.

In extreme cases, you might end up suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Checking doors, windows and all other entry points to your home again and again will become your habit and make your life extremely uncomfortable.

Tips/treatments

If Scelerophobia is in initial stages you may not require any medical help. Some simple tips and lifestyle changes can help you eliminate it.

Securing Your Home

There is a thin line between becoming obsessed with safety and taking sufficient preventive measures to ensure that you don’t go through any such incident. Where there is ever increasing crime, we also have countless security companies that provide security products such as outdoor floodlight cameras with alarm systems and motion sensors, wireless driveway alarms, indoor cameras with motion sensors, etc. Some of these companies even provide 24/7 monitoring and surveillance. You can also keep and train a guard dog. A well trained dog will not only protect your home, but also keep you company. Psychologists are of the opinion that keeping a pet can help in the treatment of such disorders.

Exercise/Yoga/Self-Defense training

Try doing workouts that relax you, such as yoga or pilates. They will not only make you feel relaxed but also build your confidence. Taking defense training or learning martial arts will also boost your confidence and also equip you for facing any such threat.

Therapy

If you believe your situation is getting worse you can get in touch with experts and undergo a proper treatment such as cognitive behavior treatment. This method tries to address the root cause directly i.e. your thoughts. It tries to help you alter your thinking so that you develop a positive and rational perception. Exposure therapy is also used by experts to treat such conditions, it entails exposing the patient, step by step to what he fears, in a controlled environment. The patient is taken through simulations of such situations of varying intensity gradually depending on how the patient is responding to this treatment. There are other therapies also which can treat this condition such as MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction), NLP (Neuro Linguistic Program) and DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy).

Medication

In extreme cases you may be advised to take antidepressants and drugs for reducing anxiety also known as Anxiolytics. You should never use them without expert opinion. They are usually used in conjunction with therapy and may not be that effective on a stand-alone basis. Medicinal cannabis may also help in addressing unnecessary anxiety.

Conclusion

Scelerophobia can make your life uncomfortable and extreme cases can result in insomnia, panic attacks, hypertension, etc. This can negatively affect your social life. You can end up totally isolated and will also find it hard to work. It can be eliminated by making some lifestyle changes like securing your home, working out or receiving defense training, etc. In extreme cases it may have to be treated using different psychological and behavioral therapies.