Fear of Accidents or Dystychiphobia

A severe fear of having an accident can have a major impact on your life

Child about to slip on marbles on the floor
Getty Images/Adam Gault

Dystychiphobia is the excessive fear of having an accident. This phobia is often seen in a person who has been in a serious or near-fatal accident in the past. In some cases, the phobia can be triggered by losing someone close as a result of an accident.

This fear encompasses all forms of physical accidents, including those that occur in the home, the workplace, public spaces, and roadways. People with dystychiphobia generally worry about causing injury both to themselves and to other people.

Like all phobias, dystychiphobia varies widely from person to person. Some people are afraid only of industrial accidents, others of transportation-related crashes. Some feel only a mild case of nerves, while others are virtually paralyzed by their fear.

Phobia Versus Fear

It doesn't mean you have dystychiphobia ​just because you fear getting into a car accident when driving in bad weather, have a fear that a plane experiencing excessive turbulence will crash, or simply are afraid of slipping on a wet floor. Those who experience severe forms of this phobia possess a constant fear that can inhibit their ability to fully live their lives.

Dystychiphobia and Daily Life

Life is inherently risky, and the threat of accidents is always present. Most people with mild dystychiphobia find a balance of risk with which they are comfortable. You might avoid jobs that you see as dangerous, such as firefighting or working with heavy machinery.

You may prefer to drive before or after rush hour and stop for gas only during daylight hours. In many cases, these minor changes to the daily routine are sometimes sufficient to curb the fear.

If your fear is more severe, however, you might find yourself significantly limiting your daily life. You might gradually begin to avoid more and more activities for fear of injuries.

Over time, it might become difficult to function at home, school or work. In these cases, professional assistance is always recommended.

Symptoms of Dystychiphobia

Those who truly possess an excessive fear of having an accident will often exhibit some of the following symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Breathlessness
  • Excessive sweating
  • Dry mouth
  • Shaking
  • Being overly cautious
  • Heart palpitations
  • Inability to speak
  • Becoming angry
  • A feeling of detachment from reality 
  • Uncontrollable shaking
  • Feelings of unsteadiness

Treatment for Dystychiphobia

Therapy is recommended for anyone who thinks they may be have dystychiphobia. Treatment is meant to teach individuals to do things that they have not done in the past or possess a fear of doing. Anti-anxiety medications may also be used to treat those with dystychiphobia to help ease symptoms that may be limiting their lifestyle.

Dystychiphobia treatments include:

  • Hypnotherapy: Hypnosis is used to create subconscious change.
  • Psychotherapy: Regular talking sessions are held with a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other mental health provider.
  • Neuro-Linguistic programming: This is a form of psychotherapy that examines the neurological processes, language, and behavior patterns that are learned through experience.

    Source

    American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th Ed). Washington DC: Author; 2013.​​

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