Crystallophobia (fear Of Crystals): Symptoms, Causes And Treatment

Extreme fear of crystals can take the form of a specific phobia.

Crystallophobia

Glass is a type of material that is very present in our daily lives, which makes up different objects, such as glasses and goblets (crockery), jars, decorative objects such as vases, etc.

As everything that “exists” can be feared, an irrational fear of crystals can also be present: it is crystallinephobia, the phobia of crystals. In this article we will see what its characteristics are.

Cristalphobia: symptoms

Crystallophobia can be related to the fear of breaking glass, the noise they make when doing it or tearing / hurting themselves with one of them.

The symptoms of crystallophobia are those corresponding to the symptoms of a specific phobia. In this case, irrational fear appears before the crystals. Crystals, as we know, are toughened, transparent and colorless glasses, which are used to make prisms, lenses, tableware, etc.

The remarkable symptoms of crystallophobia are:

  • Sharp and persistent fear of crystals: This fear is excessive or irrational.
  • Anxiety : exposure to the phobic stimulus (crystals) causes marked anxiety.
  • Avoidance : situations that may induce sin are avoided or endured with much discomfort.
  • Interference with normal routine.
  • Duration of symptoms at least 6 months.

Crystallophobia as a specific phobia could be included in the group of phobias to “other” stimuli, within the DSM classification.

Characteristics of specific phobias

Specific phobias frequently present comorbidity with other anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and substance-related disorders.

However, specific phobia is the anxiety disorder with the least degree of incapacitation, compared to the rest of anxiety disorders (the one with the most being panic disorder with agoraphobia).

This is because, if the person avoids the phobic stimulus or said phobic stimulus is not common in depending on what places (they do not have to witness it very often), their daily functioning does not have to be altered. In addition to the type of symptoms, which is not so serious or disabling.

Regarding the course, they generally appear in childhood or adolescence, and at an earlier age in women than in men. The fact of presenting crystallophobia in adolescence (or another type of specific phobia) increases the probability of presenting a persistent specific phobia or developing a new specific phobia, but does not predict the development of another disorder.

Causes

As for the causes that can cause crystallophobia, as with many other specific phobias, they are not reliably known. However, it could be related to having experienced negative, highly traumatic or emotionally charged events or experiences related to glass (for example, a large cut with a glass, a glass break in a robbery, injuries, etc.) .

For specific phobias, a certain genetic predisposition to the harmful effects of stress has also been suggested, which establish a basis for the appearance of the phobia.

On the other hand, other factors must be taken into account when it comes to understanding the origin of crystallophobia, such as the person’s personality, cognitive styles, learning by imitation or classical conditioning, which can favor the appearance and development of the irrational fear of crystals, as well as any other type of object or situation.

Treatment

Crystallophobia must be treated as a specific phobia, using specific tools. Psychotherapy can be effective, according to much research. Cognitive behavioral therapy has been shown to be the most effective, and often includes relaxation techniques, cognitive techniques (eg self-instruction), and exposure techniques (the latter being the most effective).

Regarding the exposure techniques, the objective will be to gradually expose the person to the feared stimulus, in this case to different types of crystals (in terms of shape, size, etc.), arranged hierarchically (from least to most anxious or phobic for the patient).

The ultimate goal is for the person with crystallophobia to expose himself to the crystals (in different therapy sessions, as well as out of consultation “homework”), until they no longer cause fear or anxiety. In the case of crystallophobia, for example, the first stimulus in the hierarchy may be a small and slightly sharp crystal, progressively increasing its size, as well as the risk of it cutting.

It will be sought that the person can finally touch the crystals without showing responses of escape or avoidance or discomfort.

Through exposure, the person is able to verify for himself that he is not in danger when facing the phobic object, and thus little by little the fear disappears and it is learned that the crystals are not synonymous with danger or harm.

Bibliographic references:

  • Horse (2002). Manual for the cognitive-behavioral treatment of psychological disorders. Vol. 1 and 2. Madrid. XXI century (Chapters 1-8, 16-18).
  • Belloch, A .; Sandín, B. And Ramos, F. (2010). Manual of Psychopathology. Volume I and II. Madrid: McGraw-Hill.
  • American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Fifth edition. DSM-5. Masson, Barcelona.
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