Ancraophobia is irrational anxiety for wind. The sufferer usually gets anxious when he/she feels wind on their face or hears wind blow. It is categorized as a phobic anxiety disorder.
What are the clinical features of Ancraophobia?
Ancraophobia is characterized by extreme anxiety and irrational fear for wind and windy air. But individuals are not anxious or fearful in other situations. Anxiety symptoms are usually classified as physical and psychological.
What are psychological anxiety symptoms?
People with Ancraophobia can get extreme anxiety, when they feel wind blow. Person with this phobia may not come out from the house due to the fear of wind. They feel that wind will blow them away or the wind will harm them. In addition, they usually avoid situations where they are supposed to encounter windy weather.
What are the physical Anxiety symptoms?
When they encounter wind, individuals with ancraophobia have butterflies in their stomach, dry mouth, difficulty in swallowing, chest tightening and difficulty in inhaling. In addition they may get cardiovascular symptoms such as palpitations (subjective feeling of their own heartbeat). Other than that they can get tremors.
Fear and avoidance of windy situations maintain the phobia. So psychotherapy is targeted to expose the sufferer to windy situations.
How to treat Ancraophobia?
Ancraophobia is treated mainly with psychological methods. In addition, some people may need specific medications such as benzodiazepines. Psychological methods used in Ancraophobia include systemized desensitization, relaxation training and graded exposure.
What is systemized desensitization?
Here the patient need to construct a list made up of situations that can provoke anxiety from minimum to maximum. Imagining a wind may be a minimal anxiety provoking stimulus. But the stimulus may differ from person to person. After that he/she may write it down at the top of the list. Then the patient is asked to write down next anxiety provoking situation. E.g. feeling wind from a fan. The list should continue until the sufferer write down the most anxiety provoking situation. E.g. going out and feeling a windy day.
For children, their parents may need to get involved to construct an accurate list of anxiety provoking situations.
What is relaxation training?
Once the anxiety list is formulated, a patient is taught how to control anxiety by way of relaxation therapy. In relaxation therapy the patient is trained to gradually relax, first individual muscles, after that the whole body. This method should be practiced regularly during sessions to relieve anxiety.
What is graded exposure?
Here patient is entered into the least anxiety provoking situation, listed by the person/parent. E.g. If the least anxiety provoking situation is imagining a wind blow, he/she may be asked to do it. This procedure is done repeatedly, until the anxiety is completely diminished. Then the patient is carried onto the next anxiety level in the list. These steps are repeated, until the patient is completely cured of the Ancraophobia.
During the therapy the patient is asked to practice relaxation methods to relieve anxiety. But some people need drugs to relax.
Ancraophobia is a phobic anxiety disorder that is rather uncommon. However it can be treated successfully.
Oxford short textbook of Psychiatry