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Atomosophobia (fear of a nuclear explosion): symptoms, causes, treatment

Atomosophobia (fear of a nuclear explosion): symptoms, causes, treatment

June 12, 2024

The atomosphobia is a clear example that human beings can develop extreme fears to very improbable phenomena. This mental alteration is based on the fear of atomic explosions, something that the vast majority of the population never experienced or will experience.

Let's see what are the symptoms and causes of the atomosphobia , as well as the possible psychological treatments associated with this disorder.

  • Related article: "Types of phobias: exploring the disorders of fear"

What is atomosphobia?

The atomosofobia, or phobia to nuclear explosions, is a type of anxiety disorder belonging to the group of specific phobias.

In it, what produces a intense fear is the expectation of a nuclear explosion in a nearby place. This means that the symptoms of the disorder do not manifest themselves only if one of these explosions is present, but can appear in almost any context, provided that the intrusive ideas related to this type of catastrophe become the focus of attention person.

Keep in mind that phobias are disorders because in them there is a fear of something that should not be feared with that intensity , since it is not a danger. In the case of nuclear explosions it is clear that these are dangerous, but in this case the problem is a matter of probability: what should not be feared is the risk of an imminent and nearby nuclear explosion, since it is most likely that It will not happen.

  • Maybe you're interested: "Types of Anxiety Disorders and their characteristics"


As in the rest of phobias, there is no specific and unique cause that is the same in all cases, but there are a variety of situations that can lead to develop these disorders and to keep their symptoms.

Exposure to a traumatic experience related to real or imagined nuclear explosions is one of the causes. This association between experience and an emotional state of strong anxiety can be realized in the most elaborate ways.

For example, by living close to the collapse of a house, which resembles the explosion of a bomb, or seeing a loved one die of cancer, in which case the most anxious element of the nuclear explosion would be the radiation that would leave in its path.

We must bear in mind that phobias are based on the mechanics of fear and anxiety in most cases they are useful for survival , but in certain cases they can degenerate and give way to psychopathology.

That means that these anxiety disorders are not something that can be controlled through rationality, but they start from the emotional facet that has been superego millions of years in the nucleus of the functioning of the nervous system and without whose existence we could not understand the human mind.


As for the symptoms, these are the usual ones in any type of phobia, and they all have to do with a response of strong anxiety before a real or imagined stimulus.

On the one hand are the symptoms of physiological type . These are increased blood pressure and respiratory rate, tremors, cold sweats, nausea and the possibility of losing consciousness.

On the other is the psychological component, in which obsessive ideas based on the image of the nuclear explosion stand out, and the inability to direct attention to anything else while the crisis lasts, as well as the sensation of fear.

Finally, we have the purely behavioral part, in which behaviors of escape and avoidance of the phobic stimulus stand out.


Fortunately, phobias have a good prognosis if they are treated with the help of psychology professionals.

In this sense, the most common techniques to treat this type of disorder in which we find the atomosophobia are systematic desensitization and exposure. Both are based on the idea of ​​exposing the person to the phobic stimulus in a controlled situation, under the supervision of the psychotherapist, and going from the easiest situations to face the most difficult ones.

In the case of atomosphobia, since it is not possible to find the phobic stimulus in real life, the most useful thing is take advantage of forms of virtual reality based on a three-dimensional graphic engine.

On the other hand, in a parallel way you can use psychological intervention pathways that appeal to the cognitive component and mental schemes. For this, cognitive restructuring is used, linked in this case to the improvement of self-esteem and self-efficacy.

Bibliographic references:

  • Cavallo, V. (1998).International Handbook of Cognitive and Behavioral Treatments for Psychological Disorders. Pergamon
  • Myers, K. M., Davis, M. (2007). "Mechanisms of fear extinction". Molecular Psychiatry. 12 (2): pp. 120-150.

Short Story Atomoso By Muhammad Jameel Akhtar (June 2024).

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