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Demonophobia is a mental condition which describes a person whose fear of demons or evil spirits goes beyond what would be considered normal. They typically feel that they are constantly being threatened by unseen spirits, often to the extent that the fear interferes with their daily lives. Demonophobia, like other phobias, is considered a fear that is not rational, and can sometimes cause severe psychological distress. Fear of demons is generally considered one of the more rare phobias, though many people do experience some level of unease regarding the supernatural and supernatural beings.
Symptoms of demonophobia generally present themselves when the person is feeling an imagined immediate threat. Escalating heartbeat, sweating, and an overwhelming sense of panic are all symptoms associated with demonophobia. In some instances, fear of demonic entities can result in panic attacks, which sometimes causes violent trembling and hyperventilation.
People who suffer from demonophobia, as in other phobias, generally go to great lengths to avoid what they believe to be an inevitable confrontation with demons and their ilk. According to legend, demons can gain entry into the human world by means of Ouija boards and other supernatural tools, so many people who suffer from demonophobia typically avoid contact with items connected to the occult. In addition, they may avoid watching movies that deal with supernatural subject matter. They may also be afraid of the dark, especially when they are alone.
Studies indicate that most people who suffer from demonophobia do realize that their fears are unfounded, yet that does little to control their phobia. In some cases, their phobia is so severe, that they may even find it difficult to talk about demons, as is necessary in most counseling designed to cure the disorder. For this reason, treatment of demonophobia may be more difficult than treatment for other types of phobias.
Phobia treatments can vary greatly, depending on the person and their comfort level. One of the more popular and traditional means of treating phobias involves slow and careful exposure to the subject of the irrational fear. Since demons and spirits are generally considered imaginary, a therapist may encourage the patient to watch a few minutes of a movie involving demonic subject matter. Another method could be short discussions with demons as the topic. Phobia exposure treatment typically strives to put the patient in a situation where they can feel a measure of safety before confronting their fears.
My little sister struggled with demonophobia when she was a little girl. We lived down the road from a church whose denomination I will not name, but it was one of the more hard-core evangelical religions. People sometimes spoke in tongues, for instance.
Someone from this church, where we sometimes went to Vacation Bible School, told us, "You can meet the devil anywhere at anytime." Now, that is a legitimate expression of their belief and was meant at least eighty percent metaphorically, but my sister, who was only six, took it quite seriously.
We didn't realize that she became terrified of literally meeting the devil! She was afraid to go in the basement, go into an empty room
, even to turn a corner because the devil might be waiting for her. Finally, one day she started crying when my dad asked her to get something from downstairs. It took a few weeks for my parents to convince her that she would be okay!
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