The introduction on nuclear technology has changed the way the world works; changing everything from the way we create our power, cook our food and the way we fight our wars. While most of these benefits are positive for us, they can be a massive source of fear for many, and not just those on the other end of a nuclear missile. Radiophobia is a fear of being unwillingly exposed to radiation and can negatively impact a persons social life and mental state.

Symptoms of Radiophobia

Common symptoms associated with radiophobia are widely seen throughout other phobias and anxiety disorders. When faced with the a threat of radiation, which may just be a perceived threat and not an actually dangerous situation, a radiophobic person will usually tense up and be unable to otherwise function. During a panic attack associated with a fear of radiation, a person may experience one or more of the following:

  • Nausea or dizziness
  • Change in heartbeat
  • Inability to form thoughts or speak
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling of terror
  • Desire to flee

When a radiophobic person feels like they are being placed in a dangerous situation, they are usually mentally transported back to the initial event which may have caused the phobia. This can be absolutely terrifying and may cause panic attacks but can also be useful, if brought up in therapy, to help trace the phobia back to it’s root.

A fear of radiation and x-rays is not necessarily unnatural, since exposure to these elements can be dangerous, but often within radiophobia the fear of being exposed can become entirely irrational. A person may begin to feel like they are undergoing exposure to radiation when there is absolutely no physical threat surrounding them. While others may be able to confirm the lack of danger, a person dealing with severe radiophobia is likely to ignore them, regardless of their relationship, and may even push them out of their lives in fear that they me trying to endanger them.

Causes of Radiophobia

Radiophobia is most commonly caused by a past traumatic event dealing with radiation or may even be traced back to a fear of wars. A fear of betrayal is also a common consideration of this phobia and, as discussed earlier, can reappear in forms of distrust in stressful situations that can put a serious strain on interpersonal relationships. Without proper treatment, symptoms will gradually worsen and a radiophobic person may begin to avoid unfamiliar places and new social situations which can damage physical and mental health, damage existing social relationships, and prevent a person from making any new meaningful relationships.

If radiophobia is starting to negatively impact your personal life and relationships, it may be time to seek out professional treatment options. A positive internal motivation for change is the most useful tool in overcoming your fear of radiation and it is never too late to begin treatment.

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