Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia is a part of the fictional and humorous phobia family, and it is described as the fear of long words. It is quite a long word itself, and is derived from several words meaning large and monstrous. It is a clever play on words, and seems to mock itself, but it isn’t a real psychiatric problem that needs attention. Humorous and fictional phobias are intended purely for entertainment, and can sometimes be a commentary on the idea that “anything can be a phobia.” Of course, we know that many phobias are very serious and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
What are Phobias?
Literally, the suffix phobia means intense fear. Phobias are described often as irrational, paralyzing fears. This doesn’t mean that you suffer from aichmophobia (the fear of sharp or pointed objects) simply because you don’t like knives pointed at you. Suffering from a phobia coincides with psychiatry, and is best when treated by a professional. A person with a serious phobia will have psychological and physical symptoms when faced with their fear, such as anxiety, panic, increased heartbeat, trembling and nausea. So, while there is a whole genre of fictional and humorous phobias, there are also many that should be taken seriously and are treated by medical professionals.
Phobias and Anxiety
Phobias are closely tied with anxiety. Usually, a person suffering from a certain phobia will, at all costs, do their best to avoid being confronted with their fear. A person with acrophobia (a fear of heights) will refuse to step out onto a balcony, for example. But there are certain phobias that are unavoidable, and when a sufferer comes in contact with it, severe anxiety ensues. Only a professional can diagnose an anxiety disorder, but it is very important to get help if you or someone who knows you suspects that you have an irrational, consistent and intense fear or adverse reaction to something.
Why Are Phobias Dangerous?
Phobias are dangerous because they are extremely paralyzing and limiting. When a person is genuinely suffering from a phobia of some kind, it is probably because of a negative or traumatic experience they have had. The origin of many psychiatric and psychological disorders is past trauma, and the only way to get to the bottom of and banish the problem is by seeking professional help. Phobias are dangerous because they interfere with daily life, causing us to miss out on possibly wonderful and enriching experiences, and cause the aforementioned adverse effects. Some phobias, like xenophobia (the fear of strangers) cause negative feelings between people of different cultures, languages, religions, sexual preferences and so on. Phobias are like a very restricting cage.
What Should You Do?
Of course, nobody is actually suffering from hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia, because it isn’t a real psychiatric diagnosis. But if you feel that you are indeed suffering from a paralyzing fear of some kind, seek professional help. With proper help, you can remove the shackles of anxiety and fulfill a wonderful, successful life.
- Wikipedia – Wikipedia entry for phobias.
- Wikipedia – Wikipedia entry for hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia.