Phobias Types Symptoms and Factors of Dementophobia By Lisa Fritscher Lisa Fritscher Lisa Fritscher is a freelance writer and editor with a deep interest in phobias and other mental health topics. Learn about our editorial process Updated on February 16, 2021 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Steven Gans, MD Medically reviewed by Steven Gans, MD Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print Tim Brown / Getty Images Table of Contents View All Table of Contents Stigmatization Common Symptoms Anxiety-Related Factors Getting Help Dementophobia is a type of phobia that involves the fear of madness or insanity. People who have this fear are afraid that they are going insane or losing touch with reality. The fear may be triggered by a family history of mental illness or periods of severe stress. Mental Illness and Stigmatization Mental illness has long been associated with confinement, painful treatments, and social stigma. At various points in history, those with a mental illness were thought to be possessed by evil spirits. Only relatively recently did the medical establishment and the general public begin to recognize mental illness as a treatable medical condition. If you have older relatives who went through the early or mid-20th-century asylums, you may be afraid you'll undergo the same treatment. You might also be afraid of social stigmatization. Some symptoms of mental illnesses can cause tics, vocal outbursts, and socially inappropriate behaviors. While stigmatization is not as common as it was, it does exist. You may fear losing friends and family or being embarrassed in front of strangers due to mental illness. When Were the Earliest Accounts of Depression? Common Symptoms Those with a phobia of going mad often exhibit the following symptoms: AnxietyBreathlessnessDizzinessExcessive sweatingFeeling faintHeadachesHeart palpitationsNauseaPanic attacksSocial withdrawal How Exactly Do You Diagnose a Phobia? Anxiety-Related Factors Depersonalization and derealization are subjective changes in perception. They are extremely common during panic attacks and times of intense stress but can create a feeling of disconnectedness with the body and with the wider world. This can lead to a feeling that you're going insane, creating a self-reinforcing cycle. A phobia of going insane can lead to panic attacks, which can also further heighten the conviction that you are, in fact, going insane. Therapy may be necessary to help break this cycle. Research does show that those who have a relative with a mental illness are more likely to develop a similar illness. The knowledge that you are at a somewhat higher risk of developing mental illness can further add to the fear. Getting Help Phobias are often treated with a combination of medications and therapy. Therapists generally draw from a variety of cognitive-behavioral and other techniques to help sufferers challenge their beliefs and ultimately develop healthier ways of thinking and acting. Psychoeducation, in which you learn more about specific mental illnesses, is often helpful. Your therapist may also work with you to explore the meaning that your fear has to you. The goal of treatment is usually to help you better understand the complex factors involved in your fear in order to minimize the impact it has on your life. 5 Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Rössler W. The stigma of mental disorders: A millennia-long history of social exclusion and prejudices. EMBO Rep. 2016;17(9):1250–1253. doi:10.15252/embr.201643041 UK NHS. Phobias. Caldirola D, Perna G. Toward a personalized therapy for panic disorder: Preliminary considerations from a work in progress. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2019;15:1957–1970. doi:10.2147/NDT.S174433 NIH. Common genetic factors found in 5 mental disorders. Garcia R. Neurobiology of fear and specific phobias. Learn Mem. 2017;24(9):462–471. Published 2017 Aug 16. doi:10.1101/lm.044115.116 Additional Reading American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC. 2013. By Lisa Fritscher Lisa Fritscher is a freelance writer and editor with a deep interest in phobias and other mental health topics. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist for Phobias Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.