Definition of Clinophobia or the fear of going to bed.
Clinophobia is an intense, irrational fear of going to bed. The clinophobic individual may actually fear sleeping or what happens when one sleeps. Some individuals may fear nightmares, for example, or cope with actual medical conditions such as sleep apnea. Other clinophobic individuals may be intensely fearful that they will die when they sleep. People coping with Clinophobia may avoid going to bed or will wake frequently during the night.
Clinophobia derives from the Greek word “klinein”, meaning to incline and “phobos” meaning fear.
What Causes Clinophobia?
As is the case with the development of all phobias the person suffering with Clinophobia has experienced an actual trauma. That traumatic experience is then automatically and consistently associated with sleep.
Perhaps the clinophobic individual actually has an underlying and undiagnosed medical condition that makes sleeping a frightening experience. Maybe, as a child, this individual coped with terrifying nightmares or wet the bed frequently. Maybe the person coping with this phobia has personal knowledge of another person who did die in their sleep. Of course, the childhood prayer, “…and if I die before I wake…” does little to lessen the fear that the clinophobic person feels.
Whatever the cause, the person impacted by Clinophobia can experience anxiety and emotional turmoil that is completely disruptive to their ability to function.
What Are the Symptoms of Clinophobia?
The symptoms of Clinophobia are individual and will vary from person to person. Some people, when confronted with their fear of going to bed and sleep, may begin to perspire, feel slightly uncomfortable or become nauseated. At the opposite end of the spectrum, other people are so severely compromised by this phobia, that they may experience paralyzing anxiety and/or panic attacks.
Other symptoms of Clinophobia may include:
* A Dry Mouth
* Heart Palpitations
* Heightened Senses
* Feeling Dizzy
* Muscle Tension
* Rapid Heartbeat
* Feeling Out of Control
* Feeling Trapped and Unable to Escape
* Intense Feeling of Impending Disaster
How Is Clinophobia Diagnosed?
The vast majority of cases of Clinophobia are self-diagnosed. The individual realizes that their fear of sleep and of going to bed is irrational and is severely compromising their ability to function on a daily basis.
The clinophobic person may discuss their phobia with the primary physician. Rarely would the doctor diagnosis Clinophobia based on that initial discussion with the patient. More routinely, after ruling out any medical reason for this phobia, the doctor will refer the person to a mental health professional for comprehensive assessment and evaluation.
How Is Clinophobia Treated?
When the fear of going to bed and of sleep becomes intense enough to disrupt an individual’s ability to function, there are a number of ways to treat Clinophobia.
These can include:
* A referral from the primary physician to a therapist who specializes in the treatment of phobias.
* Traditional “talk” therapy that will teach the person to recognize and control their phobia.
* Exposure Therapy.
* Self-help techniques such as purposeful muscle relaxation.
* Support groups with other people who are coping with this specific phobia.
* Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or Desensitization Therapy.
* Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and visualization.
* In severe cases of Clinophobia, anti-anxiety medication can be prescribed.
Clinophobia is an intense, irrational fear of going to bed and of sleep. Sometimes that fear can become so overwhelming as to completely stop a person’s ability to function on a daily basis. Unchecked, Clinophobia can become a debilitating condition that interferes with an individual’s personal life, their social life and job responsibilities. Untreated, Clinophobia can impact every aspect of a person’s life.