Aichmophobia (pronounced [īk-mō-fō′bē-ă]) is a kind of specific phobia, the morbid fear of sharp things, such as pencils, needles, knives, a pointing finger, or even the sharp end of an umbrella and different sorts of protruding corners or sharp edges in furnitures and building constructions/materials. It is derived from the Greek aichmē (point) and phobos (fear). This fear may also be referred to as belonephobia or enetophobia.
Sometimes this general term is used to refer to what is more specifically called fear of needles, or needle phobia. Fear of needles is the extreme and irrational fear of medical procedures involving injections or hypodermic needles.
Not to be confused with similar condition (Avoidance behavior) the Visual looming syndrome, where the patient does not fear sharp items, but feels pain or discomfort at gazing upon sharp objects nearby.
The use of hypnotherapy which is a combination of hypnosis and therapeutic intervention, may help to control or improve the fear of sharp objects, specifically needles. A technique called systematic desensitization exposes patients to the feared stimuli in gradual degrees while under hypnosis. This technique has met with mixed levels of success.
Direct conditioning is a process used to associate desired behaviour in the subject with positive stimuli. Mary Cover Jones conducted an experiment in which she treated a patient with a fear of rabbits, by gradually moving a rabbit closer to the patient in the presence of the patient's favorite food. This continued until the patient was able to touch the rabbit without fear.
Rare cases causing posttraumatic stress
In rare cases, exposure to the feared object may cause posttraumatic stress disorder, which again increases the fear of the object as one also gets afraid of getting posttramatic stress. Typically, this is caused by the fear of a small fragment of the feared object getting stuck in the body after exposure.
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