Scary movies play to our deepest and darkest fears. Either you love them or hate them but do you fear them? Phobia of scary movies is actually a phobia of a phobia wrapped into one. It is the topic of the scary movie in some cases that makes you feel a little weak in the knees and gives you the heart palpitations that are associated with phobias.
There are some people that regardless of the subject matter of the film has a fear of watching scary movies because their phobia is related to the threat of being scared. The fear of being afraid is called Phobiaphobia.
Understanding the Phobia
The line between fear and phobia is a pretty thick one. Fear is a normal reaction to a threat. Like any phobia the response to the threat that has little potential to cause damage is not founded. When we watch a scary movie it is within normal ranges to jump and gasp and even feel your heart rate increase than return to normal once the perceived threat is quelled by moving on to the next scene.
When someone suffers from a phobia of scary movies there is no moving on to the next scene. Through out the entire movie that anticipation of the next “scary” part is pure anguish. The body responds to what the mind is telling it. The heart rate stays elevated, a tightening in the chest can be noticed, a feeling of not being able to breath, sweaty palms and panic ensues. It it literally torturous the thought of having to watch a scary movie.
A person that has a phobia about scary movies is not affected by the content as say a person that had arachnophobia would be by having to sit through a scary movie with spiders. It is not the content of the movie it is the idea that you are supposed to be scared of the movie that sets the phobia into action.
What Can Be Done?
The fear of fear or phobia phobia can be avoided by not watching scary movies. If the phobia is isolated to this one activity than the solution is simple, just avoid these types of movies. If the phobia is not limited to scary movies and there are other life events that bring about the anxiety than getting help is warranted.
Psychotherapy can be a big help. Exposure therapy can also help.