What is Aichmophobia?

April 12, 2021

What is Aichmophobia?
What is Aichmophobia?

Phobias are psychological disorders to a particular trigger that manifests in an individual as a range of symptoms that are detrimental to the victim's health. A patient suffering from a phohic condition must visit a healthcare profession at the earliest. One of the reasons for taking quick actions against a phobic response is to diagnose and narrow down the possible trigger that leads to the phobic attack.


There are individuals who fear pointed objects. Pointed objects may include the tip of a pen, pencil, knife, needle, etc. A specific phobia of needle is called belonephobia or enetophobia. Fear of an object that can drill or make a puncture is called trypanophobia. All these conditions fall under the umbrella of aichmophobia, which as mentioned before, is the fear or any pointed object and is not specific to any one particular object like a needle.


Aichmophobia can have a negative affect an individual's quality of life. A fear of the tip of pen or pencils can make an patient refrain from writing, a knife can make the patient repulsive from cooking or entering the kitchen and needles can make the patient avoid visits to the doctor. In the presence of a sharp object, the patient can suffer from panic attacks, rapid breathing or shortness of breath, fast heart rate and shivering. The phobic individual should thus always be accompanied by an adolescent or a caretaker as coming across pointed objects is common.


As far as dentistry is concerned, aichmophobic patients need to be dealt with utmost care. Most instruments used in the dental clinic are pointed. The routine dental instruments like an explorer or probe that are used for check-up along with a mouth mirror have a pointed tip. The dental drill itself houses burs that can be sharp. Injections are routinely used in cases where pain needs to be subsided. There are many other dental instruments that are pointed which carry multiple functions and are useful in many treatment options. An aichmophobic person needs to be managed by the dentist in a way that the pointed instrument is not visible to the patient. This can be very challenging and difficult to proceed with. Hence, removal of the phobia should be the primary goal.


Exposure therapy is a common treatment approach for most phobias. The therapy involves exposing the patient to multiple pointed objects for specific time intervals, the duration of which is gradually increased. In the process of exposure, the patient is made to realize that the phobic sensation is irrational and that the pointed object possess no harm. Exposure therapy is coupled with cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT). CBT involves the patient communicating with the therapist in the presence of a caretaker. The patient and the therapist exchange questions and answers related to the phobia in the presence of the trigger. If the patient begins to positively respond to the pointed object, his or her behaviour is reinforced by increasing the duration of exposure.


Hypnotherapy is another treatment approach to many phobias. However, this can be done only by a trained hypnotist who can make the patient go into a trance, eliminate the sensation of phobia and bring him or her back to the conscious. In most cases, healthcare workers recommend distraction as a behaviour management technique for the phobic patient. The patient's mind is made to think or visualise about any other scenario other than the present, which houses a pointed object nearby.


Aichmophobia of a severe grade might require the patient to consume certain drugs. These classes of drugs are beta blockers and sedatives. Beta blockers work by controlling the heart rate whereas sedatives help in controlling anxiety. The patient is advised to practice relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation, listening to calm and peaceful music, taking walks in the garden, etc.


Aichmophobia needs to be dealt with care. It can be an overwhelming feeling if the patient is able to gain a command control over his or her reactions to sharp objects. Routine check-ups pertaining to oral health and the body in general can be easily done which can further improve the patient's well-being. Thus, patients of aichmophobia should be monitored, handled and treated with utmost care to get the necessary results. Consulting a suitable healthcare professional (therapist) is the key to overcome aichmophobia.


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