The Uranophobia is the irrational fear of the mystical idea of a paradise or sky and not be worthy of it. As is reasonable, this is a fear derived from the fear of dying and not having done enough to deserve to ascend to heaven. By extension, it also refers to the simple fear of dying.
From the origin of the human species, man has feared his death, and this experience has led him to develop myths and religions, many of them with an idea about where the human goes when he dies. In general, there is usually an idyllic place, for those awarded for acting well, and another nightmare, for those who did wrong.
This latent threat that life is over and there is nothing else or that what follows is not pleasant is based on the fear of the unknown, the unexplored. That is why uranofobia is also related to the irrational fear of the infinite, outer space and the physical sky. Because of its immensity and everything it can hide.
This is a generalized phobia, which means that its effects can be felt at any time of each day, without a stimulus that provokes them, as it does with simple phobias (for example, fear of dogs). For this reason, it can be highly disabling or limiting for the sufferer.
In this article we will talk in detail about uranophobia, in order to clearly understand its symptoms, the possible associated causes and how to alleviate its symptoms. The course of this condition and the guidelines for differential diagnosis with other similar phobias will also be discussed .
The symptoms of uranophobia
Like other phobias, uranophobia is characterized by a strong and persistent fear, which is excessive and irrational, which occurs in the presence of situations or issues associated with death, life after death or the immensity of outer space. Next, it explains what is alluded to with accused, persistent, excessive and irrational.
It is said that a fear is accused, when the subject himself is able to express it and understand that it exists. It is not considered a phobia if the person is not able to distinguish the reason for their fear. It is considered, in turn, that it is persistent, when it is maintained without greater variation over time (months or years).
It indicates that a fear is excessive when it exceeds the quota that is expected to occur according to context, age and culture. For example, the fear to die is common in almost all the humans, but until a level that does not prevent to live the life to plenitude. Likewise, the fear of not ascending to a possible heaven is common in many believers.
The fear of outer space or the immensity of the physical sky, on the other hand, is rare, so that a little more than a slight expression of it will be considered excessive. In most cases, however, the appreciation of who suffers it will be taken into account. If for this person the fear is excessive, it must be taken as such.
Finally, fear is considered irrational when it does not address reason or arguments against it. For example, the subject with uranophobia can be assured that he is in good health, that he is young and that he lives in an environment without violence and good medical assistance, and even then he will still feel a deep fear of dying.
The same would happen if you try to convince the subject about his spiritual goodness and merits according to his faith system, or if he were given to read books that belittle myths about the dangers of outer space. Adults usually recognize that their fear is irrational, while in children this is not so usual.
Another of the most important symptoms is that exposure to situations or topics (including thoughts) associated with death, life after death or the immensity of outer space, always or almost always trigger an automatic response of anxiety. It can also occur attack panic or anxiety.
The person may also come to fear these stimuli for the very fear of experiencing anxiety or crisis of anguish. And since one of the symptoms of the crisis of anguish is the fear of dying, it can intensify the effects of uranophobia and this, in turn, those of the crisis of anguish, in a spiral increasing.
When the person presents a constant crisis of anxiety in the presence of phobic stimuli, it can also be diagnosed with Distress Disorder without Agoraphobia, if it does not present symptoms of agoraphobia, and with agoraphobia if it presents them. Agoraphobia can occur because of the relationship between outer space and open spaces.
In children, phobic anxiety could occur in the form of tantrums, tantrums, inhibition or freezing behaviors and search for affective protection. For children or children under 18, it is indicated that uranofobia must have been present for at least the last six months.
Finally, uranophobia leads the subject to perform avoidance behaviors to control anxiety and fear. One of the most common forms of avoidance is trying not to sleep, for fear of not waking up or dying during sleep. So this phobia can be associated with different forms of insomnia.
It is also common for the subject to avoid talking about death, attending wakes and affinities, looking at the sky or reading about life after death. These avoidance behaviors, and the anxiety itself, reduce the quality of the person’s life and affect their interpersonal relationships or generate a sufficiently significant discomfort.
There is not much literature on the causes of uranophobia, but most agree that they can affect situations similar to those that occur in other phobias. For example, a past traumatic experience, namely, an accident, a near-death experience or a very strong religious education.
It is possible, for example, that the victim has been systematically threatened with going to hell or not earning heaven, for behaviors of little moral relevance, during his childhood, either by parents or by school or religious tutors. This has led him to think that nothing he does will be enough to ascend to heaven when he dies.
You may have experienced the death of one or more loved ones in a short period of time or of a lot of emotional vulnerability, or have suffered from a severe illness or received an invasive medical procedure, which leads you to think that life is fragile and any time it is possible to die.
At other times, the phobia can develop through learning or modeling, for example, when an important member of the family also suffers from uranofobia or another similar phobia, such as tanatofobia (fear of death), tapephobia (fear of being buried alive) or Stiglophobia (fear of hell).
Another cause is that the person has presented a crisis of unexpected anguish and this has triggered the widespread fear of dying or any other form of uranophobia. The previous presence of any other similar or associated phobia also predisposes the person to present this specific phobia.
Finally, there will be some cases where the person is not able to remember the origin of their fear or is displaced according to logic. For example, the person could have been sexually abused and from there, by displacement, start to fear heaven as a living space after death.
In cases where the person can not remember the cause of their phobia, they are usually recommended to remember when they started avoiding these stimuli and what the context of their life would be like by then. This could offer an imprecise but useful picture to understand the genesis of irrational fear.
Course of uranofobia
Like other situational phobias, uranofobia usually has two more common ages of onset: in the second childhood and in the middle of the third decade of life. When the uranofobia has its beginning in childhood and is properly attended, it has a high probability of being eliminated; but the same does not happen in adulthood.
If the uranofobia has its beginning in childhood and arrives intact until adulthood, the chances of eliminating its symptoms with psychotherapy are very low. They can be diminished or learn to control, but difficult to eliminate. If it starts in adulthood and is attended to soon, it can be eliminated, but in a smaller proportion than in childhood.
In the same vein, when uranophobia is caused by a traumatic experience or an anguish crisis, its symptoms tend to be more intense and more difficult to treat, in addition to requiring particular attention for the symptoms of the crisis of anguish or the integration of the traumatic experience
Finally, when the subject lives with one or more people who have the same or similar or associated phobia, and have not treated their symptoms, it is less likely to completely eliminate the presence of the phobia. The same if the cause is still valid. For example, parents continue to threaten not to go to heaven.
One of the most difficult things to diagnose a specific phobia is that there are many and, among them, there are so many similarities that it is easy to confuse them. Uranophobia is no exception. Below is a list of phobias that can be confused with uranophobia and their differences.
The eonofobia is the irrational fear of eternity. This refers to both the possibility of being immortal, and any other form of eternal life (for example, the life after death that many religions promise). It also has to do with fearing the very idea of eternity.
As you can see, it is closely related to uranofobia, but it is distinguished in that uranofóbico is not afraid to live forever, but not to do it in the place it expects: the paradise that promises the religion in which it believes. Or fear outer space for its immensity, but not for its characteristic of eternal being.
The thanatophobia , as already stated, is the irrational fear of dying or death. Usually associated with hypochondria, or the belief of having diseases that do not have, and necrofobia , which is the irrational fear of dead things or associated with death (for example, urns). The tanatofóbico also can fear the death of loved ones.
The uranofobia is distinguished from the sophophobia in that, in the first the fear of dying is that this occurs unexpectedly or before the person can do the minimum necessary to earn heaven or paradise promised by their religion. In the tanatofobia, on the other hand, fear is simply the idea of death or dying.
The stigiophobia , also mentioned above, is the fear of hell, and haphophobia , is the fear of committing sins that are worth a life in hell. They can be associated with pecatofobia and enosiophobia , which are the fear of sinning and committing an unforgivable sin, respectively.
We must distinguish these four phobias in which the first two are related to the fear of hell, while in uranofobia hell is not feared as such, but not to go to heaven. And in the last two, the fear of sin does not derive from the fear of not being able to go to heaven, which is what the uranofóbico fears.
The astrophobia is the irrational fear of celestial space or night sky full of stars. And anablephobia is the fear of looking up. The first is distinguished from uranophobia in that it does not cause fear the immense celestial space, but its simple presence, and the second in which anablephobia is more related to vertigo.
As you can see, there are many phobias that have partial similarities with uranofobia, and it is important to point out that if the criteria for more than one of them are met, it must be understood that both are present. Otherwise, we must opt for the one that best explains the situation experienced by the person.
The treatment of uranofobia is not different from that of other phobias, and may include the consumption of psychotropic drugs, according to the assessment of the specialist and the will or interest of the patient. Habitually, the consumption of psychotropic drugs is justified when there is presence of panic attacks or the intensity of the phobic anxiety is very high.
In the field of psychotherapy, the use of behavioral or cognitive therapy is very common . In behavioral therapy the objective is to expose the person to the feared situation. But this can be done from different approaches. One of the most used, for its effectiveness and respect for the rhythms of the patient, is the systematic desensitization.
This technique of behavior modification consists of the patient being progressively exposed to higher levels of the feared situation, while becoming less sensitive to fear. Usually, it begins with imagined situations, then seen at a distance and then experienced closely.
For this, the patient elaborates a list of situations in which his phobia occurs, and evaluates them from higher to lower anxiety. On this basis desensitization is performed. For example, a patient with uranofobia will first be exposed to imagine how the sky is, then to see cards with graphic representations of it, followed by talking about the subject, etc.
Cognitive therapy places its emphasis on the restructuring of distorted thoughts, which cause or sustain the phobia. For example, the person can perform a selective abstraction (see only a part of reality), by analyzing their behavior within their faith system, which leads them to conclude that it is bad.
Other cognitive distortions that could occur are polarized thinking (“I will never get to heaven”), overgeneralization (“I was a bad Christian today, I always am”), disqualification of the positive (“I helped that beggar, but not as much as I could “), catastrophization (” if I sleep, I can die “), etc.
Also Read: Nomophobia: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
Since phobia is irrational, these distortions of thought are easily maintained. Therefore, psychotherapeutic care is required to achieve a true positive result. Self-help can work in mild cases and, even so, the advice of an expert is recommended to prevent it from evolving negatively.